ADANI: Canavan passionately defends mine on The Project
MINISTER for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan has defended the Adani Carmichael Mine passionately on The Project overnight, throwing his full support behind the project.
The Rockhampton based Senator went head-to-head with Channel Ten co-hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Steve Price over funding, job figures and environmental concerns, answering every question thrown his way succinctly.
Outspoken Mr Aly questioned Senator Canavan why the Australian Government and ultimately tax-payers are contributing $1 billion to the project when in his words 'Adani can afford it themselves'.
Senator Canavan said it was important for Governments to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and the coal sector to make money for vital services.
"I'm standing here in the middle of the Bowen Basin here in Queensland, all of the rail lines and ports in the Bowen Basin for coal mines were built by Governments, years ago," Mr Canavan said.
"But that created massive wealth for our country. It's our second biggest export, coal, it creates thousands of jobs. We need to invest in industries like the coal sector to create jobs, make money, and pay for all the public services we love here in Australia."
When challenged regarding the 10,000 job figure the Adani project is expected to make and told 'you can't prove that' and a 'court case proved it could be as few as 1,400' by presenter Steve Price, Mr Canavan was quick to clear up any confusion or misrepresentation.
"So that court case was about the mine. So the mine will create about 1,400 jobs. Of course, the mine is not a project in and of its own, there is a rail line and a port associated with it," he explained.
"Altogether that project is about 3,400 jobs in the first stage. And then there will be subsequent stages. And of course the industry will spur other development and services in our region."
Mr Aly wasn't willing to drop the matter however, saying the 10,000 job figure was 'speculative' and there was no modelling to demonstrate job creation from the associated rail line.
Senator Canavan fired back, explaining that there was modelling.
"So when the project received its environmental approvals from both State and Federal Governments, which it's got - they modelled the economic impact of this project," he said.
"That's where the 1,400 jobs figure comes from for the mine, that's where the 3,400 jobs figure comes from for the first stage. That has been all modelled. Now of course subsequent mines that might come on line they have not been modelled at this stage, they have not been approved. But no doubt there will be thousands of jobs from those as well."
"If we invest in mines Waleed, they have a proven record of producing jobs."
Carrie Bickmore then weighed in on the debate, asking whether the community should be concerned over photos of 'coal contamination at Adani's Abbott Point terminal'.
Senator Canavan was quick to point out the images had already been exposed as false before going on to bring Rockhampton's mighty Fitzroy River into the discussion.
"Look those images have already been debunked. They've been debunked on a couple of levels. The first, the relevant regulator here, the Queensland Department of Environment has already assessed that Adani on their investigation of it has been within the limits of the release of water that they were allowed," Senator Canavan said.
"The level of sediment there at the Caley Valley wetlands you refer to is about a tenth of the sediment levels that exist here around Rocky at the Fitzroy River mouth at the moment. It's really important to point out too that those wetlands people speak about are man-made.
"And yes, the project tries to protect those wetlands, but let's get real here. These are not Ramsar listed wetlands. They are a man-made swamp to attract ducks. And that's great, but I want to protect jobs as well. I want to see investment in Northern Australia. And that's why we've got to get behind projects that can do that."