MINING SUPPORT: Opposition leader Bill Shorten said there is a role for mining and coal in Australia.
MINING SUPPORT: Opposition leader Bill Shorten said there is a role for mining and coal in Australia. Jonathan Reichard

Questions remain over Shorten's Adani and coal mining stance

WITH Opposition Leader Bill Shorten due to arrive in Rockhampton tomorrow, questions remain on his stance on Adani and other CQ coal mining projects.

He is set to host a Q&A session at a special town hall meeting at the Rockhampton Leagues Club and one of the questions sure to be raised was his stance on the Adani Carmichael Mine Project and other CQ mining projects.

READ: Call out for questions for Shorten's Rocky town hall meeting

Earlier this month, Bill Shorten was warned by his front-benchers that they could not be seen as being anti-coal after lurching to the left on Adani amid the political clash with the Greens in Melbourne's Batman by-election.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten was in Rockhampton last year for the Labor Party Country Forum and will be back on Wednesday for a Town Hall Q&A.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten was in Rockhampton last year for the Labor Party Country Forum and will be back on Wednesday for a Town Hall Q&A. Contributed

At a press conference in Townsville yesterday, Mr Shorten acknowledged that although there were some people currently working for Adani, he didn't accept the 10,000 jobs which have been promised since 2011, had materialised.

"Let's also go to the heart of this matter. There is a role for mining in Australia. There is a role for coal in Australia,” Mr Shorten said.

"Adani is another mining project.

"What we have said about it is it has to stack up commercially and environmentally.”

He said the fact of the matter was that the banks have expressed question marks over it, the financing is questionable.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten while delivering his address to the National Press Club in Canberra, Tuesday, January 30, 2018.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten while delivering his address to the National Press Club in Canberra, Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Andrew Taylor

"This company has missed more deadlines than most people have, so I think it is an issue,” Mr Shorten said.

"What we're doing today though is we recognise that the resources construction sector is coming off the boil.

"What's the next pipeline of work? There's 30,000 people unemployed.”

Mr Shorten said we needed to do a lot more than just hope and wait and wish for something miraculously to turn up out of the skies.

"Australia and Queensland were about making our own luck, not relying on someone, somewhere else overseas to make our luck for us,” he said.

READ: Shorten strikes back over Adani and Queensland jobs

In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Monday, Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler sought to reassure miners and unions that a Shorten government would continue to support existing coal mines, while also declaring Adani's proposed Galilee Basin mine was financially unviable.

Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler and Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin in 2016.
Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler and Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin in 2016. Photo: Rodney Stevens

He said that Labor remained sceptical about future thermal coal projects, he would continue to support thermal coal production in established basins, like the Hunter Valley and the booming steel producing coking-coal export industry.

"If anything, Australia is likely to increase its already dominant share of the seaborne trade in coking coal from Queensland, but the outlook for thermal coal is a different matter,” Mr Butler said.

"In all of the many discussions I've had over recent years with different interests about the Galilee Basin projects, a consensus view has been put that they are simply not financially viable - that the cost of developing the new mines cannot be recouped from a declining market with a thermal coal price projected to be in the doldrums for years,” Mr Butler said.

"Adani continues to struggle to get financial backing for the Carmichael mine, most recently seen in the decision of the large Chinese banks to walk away from the project.”

Mr Butler believed it was becoming increasingly difficult to see how Adani would get off-take agreements for Carmichael coal (in light of what was happening in the Indian energy market with Adani's massive Mundra power station) but said he could be proven wrong if the Adani project secured taxpayer funds to help make the mine viable.

READ: Adani reveals progress on mine and rail projects



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