Blair Athol coal mine.
Blair Athol coal mine. Contributed

2017 start for Adani as project declared 'critical infrastructure'

CONSTRUCTION on a billion dollar coal mining project in Central Queensland could start mid next year.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced on Sunday that the Queensland Government had invoked "special powers" to progress the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal and rail project.

Yesterday, Dr Lynham told reporters the move would create jobs for Central Queenslanders, something that Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow has been pushing.

Mayor Strelow called on the governments last month "to step up to the plate to put an end to this revolving door of court cases".

"We are encouraged by this movement from the State Government (critical infrastructure), it's a step in the right direction and we offer full support," Mayor Strelow said.

"This is not about short cutting processes, it's about reinforcing the importance of this project to the Queensland economy.

"Regional Queensland especially is looking for certainty around the Carmichael project and is ready to see this project become reality."

Dr Lynham said there was still some secondary approvals including the airport and rail that needed to passed, but they were minor.

He said Adani would need to get a water licence approved and under the 'critical infrastructure' declaration, the coordinator-general would be able to move that process along faster.

However, the positive feeling about the critical infrastructure declaration was not shared by all.

The Australian Greens said the decision was reckless.

"Adani's mega-mine and the dredging at Abbot Point coal port will be a climate disaster and reef destroyer if they go ahead," Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.

"Queenslanders will be outraged that a Labor government elected to 'save the Reef' is signing its death warrant.

"This decision is despicable.

In an age of global warming, extreme weather and mass coral bleaching, with clean energy alternatives waiting, it's just crazy to prioritise this giant coal mine.

"It will turn the Great Barrier Reef into a coal ship highway."

"We know that Adani will likely pay no tax in Australia and will only generate a fraction of the jobs originally promised, 1,464, not 10,000. 

"Just last month we saw that five large scale solar projects in regional Queensland funded by ARENA will create 1,100 jobs.

Ms Waters said if the State government was seeking a jobs rich industry to fast track as 'critical infrastructure' it should look to clean energy

"Clean energy is jobs rich, doesn't drive dangerous global warming and won't place our Reef in further strife," Senator Waters said.

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