Adani coal mine: more than an environmental matter

Adani coal mine protests
Adani coal mine protest for "coral not coal". Photo by Takver via Wikimedia Commons

With the Batman by-election coming up on Saturday March 17th, Labor, Liberal and Green parties have divided the nation with their stances on the Carmichael Coal Mine. In a century where the issue of global warming is more relevant than ever, each party is torn in a balance between the economic and environmental future of Australia.

The huge $16.5 billion Indian mining project is a proposed thermal coal mine in Central Queensland, which aims to provide and fund India’s increasingly demanding energy resources. It was proposed by Indian mining billionaire, Guatam Adani, who has market equity wealth enough to fund the project himself.

Australia’s top four banks have refused to fund the mine, as have several overseas lenders. This reflected a recent survey, which has found that 30% of people support Greens’ hardline anti-mine position, whilst 26% supported Liberal’s position of support for the mine.

Labor’s fluctuating position on the mine has left many voters unimpressed, which has reflected in his lacking survey support of 19%. With statements from the Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers claiming that the project has not environmental nor commercial tests, Shorten has finally decided to firmly stand in non-support of the mining project.

However, as of Tuesday, Shorten has also released a statement that should Labor come into power when the mining project is signed, he will not rip up the contract as such action poses a “sovereign risk”.

The Turnbull government has accused Shorten of changing his previously supportive position on the issue conveniently ahead of the Melbourne elections. He has implied that it has been a weak attempt at going against the Greens. Calling Shorten a threat to “the economic future and security of Australia” and “completely two-faced”, Mr Turnbull has always been clear on his pro-mining stance due to the investment and export opportunities it will provide.

Two-thirds of Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth and 60% in Brisbane support a review of the environmental approvals for the coalmine according to a survey released by the Australia institute. With the impact of climate change threatening to bring in more extreme weather, most Australians believe that investment should rather be made into building renewable energy and storage sources.

Australians shall see on Saturday whether Shorten’s hedged stance upon the matter will be worth the criticisms he has faced.