Next stage in campaign against new coal

January 17, 2018
An Adani divestment rally outside a Commonwealth Bank branch in Melbourne last year.

As 2017 drew to a close the climate movement had much to celebrate. Hard fought campaigns directed at potential financial backers had resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coalmine being a far less certain prospect as one by one financial options dissolved.

With major financial institutions in Australia and overseas ruling out support for the project, Adani had pinned its hopes on China as a possible funding source as well as a market for Galilee Basin coal. In spite of the Australian government oiling the wheels for a deal, all major Chinese banks backed away in the end.

Environmental think tank Market Forces executive director Julian Vincent said: “The banks' statements were obviously not coincidental, as the Chinese embassy responded to lobbying from former foreign minister Bob Carr to confirm that ‘the relevant company will discontinue discussions with Adani over possible cooperation. No Chinese financial institution will involve itself’.”

Last year the climate movement focused on Adani’s application for a $1billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) and Downer EDI, the company Adani had contracted for construction of the mine.

The movement was successful on both counts. During the Queensland election campaign, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk agreed to veto Adani's NAIF loan. This was the first act of the re-elected government. And in December, Downer left the project. 

The climate movement has not rested on its laurels with these victories. The campaign has shifted focus to federal parliament, in particular, getting Labor to commit to reversing approvals for the Adani mine and ruling it out totally.

Stop Adani has planned a protest coinciding with the launch of the byelection campaign for Batman on January 30. Stop Adani will also rally outside Parliament House, Canberra on February 5, the first sitting day of the new year.

While the Adani application for the NAIF loan is no longer on the table, Aurizon — the privatised former Queensland Rail — has applied to NAIF to construct a rail link from the Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point terminal. If the loan is approved and the rail line is built, it will open the area to other new mines, such as Hancock/GVK’s Alpha and Kevin’s Corner coalmines, which have all approvals in place but are on hold, and Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal.

The Queensland government still supports the Adani mine and mining in the Galilee Basin. Since January 2 activists from Frontline Action Against Coal and the Knitting Nannas have stopped coal trains on Aurizon's rail line leading to Abbot Point. Queensland Labor is yet to decide on whether Aurizon's application for public NAIF funds for a Galilee Basinrail line goes ahead.

You can support the campaign by voicing your opinion — no NAIF funds for Aurizon: ring Anthony Lyneham, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy on 07 3719 7660 or 07 3554 8100, Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier on 07 3719 7100 or 07 3724 9100, or Premier Palasczcuk on 07 3719 7000.

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