Tempers flare, insults fly over Adani project
FIRST he claimed it was a "domestic" between the Premier and her "boyfriend" that led to the Adani loan veto, then he labelled her a racist; now Senator Matt Canavan is turning on her candidate for Burdekin.
The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia has labelled Labor candidate for Burdekin Mike Brunker "naïve" and his comments "misleading" after media reports of his position on a possible loan for Adani to build a rail line from the Galilee Basin.
On Sunday, Mr Canavan labelled Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk a racist for backing a Saudi Arabian solar farm at the Burdekin but not the Indian mining conglomerate Adani.
"Apparently Indian billionaires are bad and Saudi Arabian billionaires are good because she's (Ms Palaszczuk) OK for a solar farm to get hundreds of millions of dollars to get subsidies for five jobs but not OK for an Indian billionaire to get a loan to create thousands of jobs," Mr Canavan said.
Yesterday, Mr Canavan said Mr Brunker could not claim to support the Adani coal project, which he says has become "an internal brawl" among the Labor party.
"Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk completely reversed Labor's previous position when she announced a re-elected Labor government would 'veto' any loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for the proposed Adani rail line," Mr Canavan said.
"It is naïve for Mr Brunker to tell a local newspaper that he doesn't know what seat his colleague and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad holds in Queensland and that he remains confident the Federal Government can still administer a loan to Adani.
"The bottom line is that the Premier's decision potentially will cause delay, disruption and uncertainty - and, frankly, those are exactly the goals of environmental activists who vehemently oppose developing the coal resources of the Galilee Basin and providing up to 15,000 new jobs in Queensland."
Mr Canavan again reiterated that, under NAIF legislation, the Federal Government required the co-operation of states to provide investments.
The outspoken Labor candidate for Burdekin fired back, calling on Mr Canavan to "get his own house in order before slinging more mud about Adani" and any possible NAIF loan.
"I support the project and Labor supports the project - full stop," Mr Brunker said.
"We know how important it is to the people of Central Queensland to have a job. I'm a third-generation coal miner, not some inner-city yuppie and I'm calling on Adani - who have said they don't need the NAIF loan - to get on with it and build the mine."
Mr Brunker said Mr Canavan was "just playing silly buggers".
"Simply calling me naïve and misleading is a bit rich coming from a bloke who was throwing his mother under a bus because he didn't know what nationality he was just a couple of weeks ago," Mr Brunker said.
"Ever since he's been the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia he's done nothing with this NAIF fund. He's been flying all over the countryside talking up NAIF and saying he's going to build this and that, but in reality he hasn't spent one cent.
"So my message is, 'build something Matt and then come and talk to me'."
Mr Brunker said when it comes to the NAIF, the Federal Government was the ultimate decision maker.
"If the Federal Government wants to give taxpayer funding to the project, they can.
"And I'm prepared to bet Queenslanders that when Annastacia Palaszczuk wins government in one and-a-half weeks, Matt Canavan will be able to find a way to pay Adani if that's what he really wants."