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Friday, April 28, 2017

Byron Shire Council rejects Westpac on Adani mine

Adani indefinitely postpones final investment decision on Carmichael coal mine Updated about 2 hours ago Photo: The Adani board was to meet in India next week for final approval but has postponed the meeting. (AAP) Related Story: Adani $320m 'royalties holiday' proposal sparks Labor faction fight Related Story: Adani facing growing pressure on fears investors may have been misled Related Story: Palaszczuk offers $320 million 'royalties holiday' to Adani Related Story: Carmichael timeline: Planning Australia's biggest mining project Map: QLD Senior Queensland Government members were in meetings on Monday night, discussing how to urgently convince Indian company Adani to proceed with a board meeting to fund the proposed Carmichael coal mine. The mining giant has postponed its final investment decision on the $16.5-billion project in central Queensland until the State Government gives "clarity" over lower or deferred royalties. A company spokesman said they were waiting for the State Government to advise on whether it would offer a lower royalty rate or deferred royalties. The Adani board was to meet in India next week for final approval but has postponed the meeting. The State Cabinet on Monday discussed whether to give Adani a royalty discount or deferral, but no decision has been made. The ABC revealed last week the move could cost up to $320 million in lost royalties to Queensland. On Monday afternoon, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would not be drawn into revealing what was discussed in Cabinet. "There is no Cabinet submission at the moment, our main focus today was on the budget — it was on a budget which is going to be handed down next month, focused on infrastructure and focused on jobs," she said. The proposed royalty deal is understood to have caused division among Labor factions. Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Roads Minister Mark Bailey, from the Left faction, have publicly opposed any government subsidy of the mine and said that had been Labor's position since before the 2015 state election. However earlier on Monday, Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said royalty arrangements were being considered by the Government. "Queensland Labor has always taken a sensible and prudent approach to resource development," he said. Government indecision has put project at risk: Opposition After criticising the Government for considering royalties last week, the Opposition on Monday was criticising it for indecisiveness. Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the Government's had put Adani's multi-billion-dollar investment at risk.
"Labor should have come up with a decision and they've failed to do so," he said. "But their failure to come to a decision, their bitter internal divisions, their desire to say one thing in north Queensland and another in the south east, has led to the situation where Adani now is deferring its investment decision, and must be seriously wondering whether under this Labor Government the project should go ahead. "[The Queensland Government] delayed and deferred it and the people that are paying the price are the Queenslanders that are looking for jobs in this sector."
Just four days earlier, shadow treasurer Scott Emerson said it was "extraordinary" the Government was looking at "doing a secret deal" to benefit one company. Greens, activists accuse Adani of bullying Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said the mining company was trying to bully the State Government into handing over $320 million in free coal. "So far, Adani is in line for a $1 billion handout, unlimited free water, new legal loopholes, special changes to Native Title, a free pass on reef destruction," she said. She called on the Queensland and Federal Governments to abandon their support for the project. Activist group Get Up said if Adani could not afford the project without a royalty holiday, it was not financially viable. "If Adani can't afford to build the mine without free water, free money and free coal, then Queenslanders can't afford to let them build it at all," GetUp Queensland campaigner Ellen Roberts said. Adani previously said the proposed $16.5-billion mine would create thousands of local jobs, and it was expected to produce 25 million tonnes of coal per year during its first phase. The former Newman government granted the mine preliminary approval in May 2014, before it received federal backing five months later. Over the last two years, the project has slowly stepped through the approval process for the mine and associated railway line to transport coal in the Galilee Basin to the Abbott Point port. Infographic: A map showing the Adani Group's Carmichael coal mine and rail project as of March 2015. (Sourced: adanimining.com) ======================================================== April 23 2017 Save Print License article Byron Shire Council rejects Westpac on Adani mine Carolyn Cummins Byron Shire Council has upped the pressure on Westpac over any potential funding of the Adani mine by voting to withdraw the $1 million it has with the bank. Furthermore, the council, at last Thursday's meeting, said it will exclude Westpac from getting any of the $70 million-plus term deposits held by the council, that mature this year. "We will also divest $1 million currently invested with Westpac at the earliest opportunity that will not lead to financial harm for rate payers," the motion said. Bob Brown returned to Parliament House in Canberra with Geoff Cousins and environmental groups to protest against the Adani coal mine. Photo: Andrew Meares In response, the head of media communications at Westpac, David Lording, said the bank has "not been approached for funding by Adani". "But if we are approached we would look at it in the same way we look at all such funding proposals, in regard to any economic, governance and social impact," Mr Lording said. Protesting against the Adani coal mine at Westpac's 200th birthday party. Photo: Stop Adani Facebook Group "Westpac is also currently undertaking a review of our climate change action plan." On April 10, Westpac's 200th birthday party was targeted by climate change and anti-coal protesters seeking to pressure the bank into guaranteeing it will not fund the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland. Despite Westpac having no plans to fund the project, organisers from Stop Adani Sydney gathered protesters outside the driveway to Carriageworks, Eveleigh, to chant "Stop Adani" at cars dropping off guests to the invite-only event.  Those opposed to the mine say money is one of the final hurdles Adani needs to clear before it can start building Australia's largest thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland. The $16.5 billion mine already has state government and environmental approval. The coal will be sent via Abbot Point to India to be burned for electricity. Byron councillor Michael Lyon said it is time to "get serious" on climate change. He said the motion was passed to put pressure on Westpac to make a statement about any funding of Adani. The other three main trading banks have said they are not funding the mine. "Investment in renewables is the only sensible path forward and Adani's mine proposal is a step backwards. Any financial institution stuck in the past needs to understand that they will face a mass exodus of customers until they do what is required for a sustainable future," Mr Lyon said. He said Byron has an alliance with six other councils who are also opposed to the mine. "We passed this motion in support of Darebin Council, who advanced a similar initiative earlier this month, and other councils that have taken a similarly strong stance," Mr Lyon said. Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson added "the Adani mine will be a stranded asset before it is built and be a legacy to economic stupidity and inflexible ideology". "Hopefully Westpac will join the community of Byron Shire and embrace the opportunities for a renewable and fossil free future," Mayor Richardson said at the meeting. =============== Westpac's anti-coal stance exposes a Coalition out of sync with business and public on climate Mark Kenny Follow on Twitter 34 reading now Obviously Westpac's public 'un-friending' of new coal - for which you can read Adani's Carmichael coal mine in the Galiliee Basin - is a body blow for a project whose backers are thinning by the day. Westpac is the last of the big four Australian banks to bin Adani's publicly toxic prospectus. Government 'should get smashed': Jones The government using taxpayers' dollars to support the Adani coal mine is the kind of policy that will see it "smashed in an election", says 2GB's Alan Jones. All are unmoved by the lure of ongoing coal profits, especially if it comes with ties to a venture that has become a byword for climate change denial.  Adani will continue to seek other financiers - including extraordinarily, the Australian taxpayer from whom it is telling Indian backers, it remains eligible for a $1 billion loan. This is despite the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund rules, which appear to render it ineligible. t Westpac branded as 'wimps' over coal pledge With or without that welfare, the business case for new coal generally and the Adani mine in particular, looks to be ebbing. Fast.  Westpac's decision is an environmental declaration of intent. But it is a coldly commercial one also that recognises what the Australian government defiantly rejects: coal's day has passed. Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan hit out strongly at the bank, suggesting it had succumbed to the inner-city politics of Sydney rather than the employment needs of the sunshine state. Remarkably, Canavan - cabinet minister - even advocated a boycott, counselling potential customers to back a bank that backs Queensland's interests. Doubtless there would be many Queenslanders upset by the Adani venture, not least the thousands already employed around the Great Barrier Reef. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meets with India's Adani Group founder and chairman Gautam Adani in New Delhi earlier this month. Photo: Mick Tsikas Besides, Westpac is hardly going out on a limb. Try going to the AGL website. One of the nation's biggest energy companies has announced a new campaign to end its association with coal entirely: "The reasons for getting out of coal are all around us" its homepage proclaims. Privately, Malcolm Turnbull must surely be hoping the Adani thing just goes away.  Resources Minister Matthew Canavan has suggested Queenslanders avoid banking with Westpac after the bank ruled out lending to Adani. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The PM may be a progressive rationalist at heart but in his head there are other realities to balance. Party room realities like Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, and the Nationals, whose head-in-the-sand record on climate change has left farmers so exposed that even the National Farmers Federation now proposes a carbon price. Paul Keating once described Turnbull as a cherry on a compost heap. The trouble with compost heaps is they tend to be stationary. This issue is anything but, and if you want proof, just follow the money. ============ Westpac rules out funding projects in the Galilee Basin coalfields TONY RAGGATT, Townsville Bulletin April 28, 2017 7:41pm CUSTOMERS have been urged to boycott Westpac after the bank ruled out any finance for the massive Adani coal mine in central Queensland Northern Australia Minister and Queensland Senator Matt Canavan yesterday branded the bank “wimps’’ and unAustralian over the move which follows vigorous campaigning by environmental groups opposed to the multi-billion dollar project. “I can only conclude from this decision by Westpac that they are seeking to revert to their original name as the Bank of New South Wales because they are turning their back on Queensland,’’ he said. “May I suggest those Queenslanders who are seeking a home loan or a long-term bank deposit or some such in the next few months might want to back a bank that is backing the interests of Queenslanders.” Westpac has announced a revised climate change action plan, which includes a ban on financing thermal coal projects in undeveloped coal ­basins such as the Galilee. Green groups claimed it meant approving government loans to a Galilee rail line would be “near impossible” while the Queensland Resources Council said it was extraordinary a bank would be “judge, jury and executioner” on the viability of opening the Galilee coal province. Westpac said financing for new thermal coal projects would be limited to existing coal producing basins and where the calorific value of coal ranked in the top 15 per cent globally. Adani’s Carmichael mine, 160km northeast of Clermont, is among half a dozen new coal projects in the untapped Galilee province. In a statement, Adani Australia said it remained fervently committed to developing Australia’s next generation high quality thermal coal resource in the Galilee Basin. “The Carmichael mine will produce thermal coal that easily meets the emissions standards announced by Westpac Bank,” it said. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Westpac’s statement was ridiculous when it came to such an integral part of the economy. “I think it’s extraordinary that a bank like Westpac who, along with the other three majors, recently pleaded with the Federal Government not to have a royal commission into their operations, would now be judge, jury and executioner on whether something is economically viable and sustainable in a new basin such as the Galilee,” Mr Macfarlane said. Environmental Justice Australia’s David Barnden said Westpac’s move would likely make it impossible for the Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to provide a $900 million loan for the project’s rail line. ============== The first mega-mine of the largest coal-mining complex in the world is close to being ‘developed’ in Central Queensland, Australia. These huge coal mining projects are planned in a region known as the Galilee Basin. Only the tar sands in Canada and oil drilling in the Arctic compare in the scale of ecological disaster. Local and international companies are waiting to get their greedy hands dirty in the Galilee. Against the wishes of the Traditional Owners, they threaten irreparable harm to the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Artesian Basin and endangered woodlands. They know projects of such magnitude threaten runaway climate change. But, they continue anyway for profit. They are eco-terrorists, threatening ecocide. map 1FIRST PROJECT: Carmichael Mine Carmichael Mine is the biggest proposed coal mine in the Galilee Basin. At forty kilometres long, it would include six open cut pits and five underground mines. Measuring a whopping 28,000 hectares, the mine would be seven times the area of Sydney Harbour. Read more on the astronomical impacts of this mine alone here. Please click on map for a larger image. FIRST TARGETS: Adani and their friends Against the wishes of the Traditional Owners, conservative and ‘progressive’ governments in Australia have controversially approved Adani’s Carmichael Mine. It is also the mining project closest to financial closure. All those involved in this coal mine are priority targets of the Galilee Blockade campaign. Together we will win!

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