During the Greens/Labor battle for the Batman byelection, the mainstream media has characterised opposition to the Adani mine as an inner city/trendy/lefty issue.
However, recent polls have shown this is not the case. Support for the project is just as likely to lose votes for the Liberal and Labor parties as it is to win votes for the Greens.
A new ReachTel survey commissioned by the Australia Institute found the Adani mine is unpopular in inner city electorates around the country.
Australia Institute deputy director Ebony Bennett said: “Adani isn’t just a potent issue in Batman. It’s an issue on the Prime Minister’s plate right now.”
More than 75% of voters in PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney electorate of Wentworth would support reviewing the environmental approvals for the controversial Adani coalmine, according to the poll. This included 70% of Liberal voters.
In the marginal Liberal-held electorate of Brisbane, 59% of a sample of 747 voters supported a review of Adani’s environmental approvals, including 48.6% of Liberal National Party voters.
Voters in both Liberal-held electorates were also asked about the future of coal, including whether mining and burning coal made the symptoms of global warming worse.
A majority of voters in Wentworth — 64.7% — (including 54.2% of Liberal voters) agreed with the statement: “Australia must halt the expansion of coalmining and fast-track building wind and solar power and storage in order to effectively reduce the worsening impacts of climate change.”
Just over 70% of Wentworth voters (including 62% of Liberal voters) agreed that “The mining and burning of coal fuels global warming impacts such as heatwaves, bushfires, floods, droughts and more severe and frequent storms.”
A clear majority of all voters also favoured the adoption of a new rule to stop government agencies from putting taxpayer funds into coalmining projects.
“Most agree that Australia must halt the expansion of coalmining and fast-track building renewables and storage to reduce the worsening impacts of climate change,” Bennett said.
“The economic case for the Adani mine is weak. The banks know it, the voters know it and that’s likely why most voters oppose giving taxpayers’ money to support coal projects like Adani’s proposed mine.”
Much closer to the mine site, in Mackay in Central Queensland, community-run surveys have revealed opposition to the project. A few months ago volunteers surveyed people at local supermarkets about the Adani mine. It revealed that 77% opposed the NAIF loan for Adani; 86% opposed unlimited water licences for Adani; 85% opposed a royalties holiday for Adani; and only 41% support new mines opening.
In posting the survey results on the Mackay Conservation Group Facebook page, Peter McCallum said: “It may be that Mackay people had a taste of the coal boom and gloom over the last decade and decided that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The boom brought lots of money for some but for others it meant high house prices and a shortage of labour (as anyone who tried to find a tradesman in this town could attest). The bust saw businesses scramble to stay afloat as money dried up but rents stayed high and the cost of redundancies ate into the cash flow.
“Not many people believe we can continue mining coal until it's all gone. Most are now coming to the view that we have to transition to renewable energy as quickly as possible and opening new coal mines will only entrench us in a dying industry. Renewable energy is where the future business opportunities and jobs will be found.
“Labor can oppose Adani publicly and strongly both in capital cities and in Central and North Queensland, as long as they provide a clear alternative.”