The Queensland Resources Council (QRC), the body representing the mining industry in the north-eastern Australian state, has said that Adani Mining’s controversial Carmichael coal mine in the Australian state must be allowed to go ahead, following the victory of the Liberal-led Coalition in last weekend’s federal election.
The election returned a surprising victory for incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Liberal Party, which is generally seen as supportive of the mining industry, and did not pledge to increase Australia’s commitment to renewable energy as the opposition Labor Party did during the campaign.
The Coalition won 23 of the 30 seats available in Queensland, including taking two seats held by Labor in the last election, and state officials have been quick to interpret the results as a show of support for the mine by those living in Queensland.
“Queenslanders have spoken and their message is clear. They support mining jobs and they expect their Governments to support them too,” said QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane. “Queenslanders don’t want a bet each way. They want a future that includes resources jobs and the resources investment that is so important to regional Queensland.”
The Carmichael mine has been dogged by environmental controversies, with both its plan for managing groundwater pollution and the protection of a local finch species coming under fire. While
the Federal Government has approved the plans, Adani is still waiting for approval from the Queensland Government, and both the company and the state claim that they have done all they can, and are waiting for input from the other.
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Groups such as the QRC are hopeful that the election results will create a breakthrough in this bureaucratic impasse, and will inspire future talks about the state’s mining sector. The council claims that mining generates more than A$60bn for the state economy, with coal mines alone providing A$3.52bn in annual royalties to the Queensland Government. Mining accounts for four-fifths of the state’s exports, and the QRC will be hopeful that work at the Carmichael mine will be allowed to continue to further develop the industry.
“The QRC will be seeking to meet as soon as possible with the Premier to discuss the long-term future of the resources sector,” said Macfarlane. “The fact is Queensland needs resources and renewables. We need to have a strong energy mix and we need to be able to give the world the resources they need to deliver their own energy mix.”