She told Sky News that when she visited Queensland during the recent federal election campaign, people told her, “Michaelia, the way you spell jobs in Queensland is A-D-A-N-I”. In a statement on Thursday, Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow said the project will create 1500 direct and 6750 indirect jobs, mostly in Rockhampton and Townsville. Mr Dow said construction activity would “steadily increase over the coming weeks”.
Senator Canavan said the announcement was an “historic day for Queensland,” noting it had been more than 50 years since a new coal basin had opened in the state.
“The Queensland government must now help facilitate the other mines in the Galilee to get more jobs going before they can be trusted again by the Queensland people,” said the Resources Minister, who has been one of the most prominent advocates for the mine.
Last month, the Queensland state Labor government announced it would fast-track Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine, just days after federal Labor’s shock election loss. Some Labor MPs and candidates have argued the party’s mixed messaging on Adani in the lead up to election day cost them much-needed votes in Queensland.
On Thursday, Labor’s resources spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon, who had been critical of Labor’s pre-election equivocation, said his party welcomed the decision and the accompanying jobs.
“We should be welcoming it, we do welcome it,” he told Sky News.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science’s approval of the latest groundwater management plan requires Adani to undertake further scientific work over the next two years to strengthen environmental protections. The department said it took advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia when making its decision.
Despite this assurance, the announcement was slammed by environment groups, GetUp and the Greens, who cautioned the fight against the mine was “far from over”.
GetUp’s environmental justice spokesperson Sam Regester said Adani still needed consent from traditional owners and still needed approval for its proposed rail line to transport the coal out of central Queensland.
Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters predicated there would be more demonstrations and court actions against the Adani mine.
“The people power movement is just going to get stronger,” she said. “It’s definitely not a done deal.”
On Wednesday, the federal government conceded in the Federal Court that it did not properly consider public submissions when evaluating an earlier water management plan from Adani. This is part of a court case brought by the Australian Conservation Foundation.
In response to Thursday’s news, the ACF said the Queensland government had put “politics ahead of science, Queensland’s water and the climate”.
“This tick-and-flick approval for Adani’s groundwater plan may spell disaster for the environmentally and culturally significant Doongmabulla Springs – an outback oasis that could dry up if Adani’s optimistic predictions, which are not supported by science, are found to be incorrect,” said ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
With Tony Moore
Judith Ireland is a political reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House