Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is calling on Adani to prove it is moving ahead with the Carmichael coal mine as federal Labor leader Bill Shorten continues to cast doubt on the project.
Mr Shorten said yesterday Adani was promising “fake jobs” to north Queenslanders.
Today, Ms Palaszczuk called on Adani to prove it has the finance and that the project is progressing.
“Other companies meet their milestones and it is up to Adani to show the people of this state that they are meeting their deadlines,” she said.
“I was at a signing ceremony eight months ago — it’s up to Adani to demonstrate to the people of this state that those jobs are forthcoming.
“Some of those milestones appear not to have been met.
“It all hinges on getting the finance — so it is up to the company to get the finance.
“That project needs to stack up financially, just as every other resource company investing in Queensland needs to stack up.”
Mr Shorten appeared to question the viability of the project.
“I’m beginning to wonder if the people of north Queensland are being sort of led on with this promise of fake jobs and they’ll never be able to materialise,” he said.
“They [Adani] time after time keep saying that they’re going to have this project up and running and they miss a deadline.
“What we need from the Government of Australia are plans to help create jobs in regional Queensland which are sustainable and real.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she was disappointed with the comments from the federal Opposition Leader, and urged Labor to consider the long-term implications for the party at the next federal election.
“These people live the life of luxury — they don’t seem to understand that in north Queensland we’ve got a very high rate of unemployment — I’ve got youth unemployment at about 23 per cent,” she said.
“All these people want to do is stop the growth of what I consider working-class jobs.”
She said if Adani did not get a financial start and had to walk away, that should be up to them.
“We should let the economy decide, not people sitting in $2 million homes in Batman,” she said.
“If they want to develop a policy for developing northern Queensland, stand up, annunciate and deliver it — don’t go weak at the knees because there is a by-election in Melbourne or the need to win seats in Perth — actually put their money where their mouth is.”
‘Why would anyone invest here?’
Queensland Labor candidate and union official Mike Brunker did not support Mr Shorten’s remarks on Adani.
Mr Brunker, who is based in the north Queensland town of Bowen, said Australia faced a “sovereign risk” to investment opportunities if Adani was scuttled amid ongoing environmental protests.
“Why would anyone want to come and invest in big major projects when they just keep getting this crap thrown at them all the time?” Mr Brunker said.
“The Labor Party I knew, and the Labor Party I hope I can still be involved with, creates jobs.
“It puts in infrastructure so you can actually encourage investment.”
He said a government-initiated jobs package would not have the same benefits.
“We’ve had plenty of jobs packages from both state and federal [governments] and usually it’s a subsidy so you can employ people,” Mr Brunker said.
“To come up with some fictional thing where we can create all these jobs in the tourism industry — we’ll have 10 people serving you coffee or 50 people on boats going to the reef, it’s absolute rubbish.”
Adani Australia issued a statement yesterday saying it currently had “800 people working across operations and projects in Queensland”.
“Each month we pay $7.2 million in salaries to our direct staff and seconded employees [average for past six months],” the company said.
“We are proud this money is supporting the livelihoods of local people and we value the work they do and the enthusiasm they bring to work every day.
“We remain committed to the Carmichael project and look forward to the time when more people in places like Townsville and Bowen can join the Adani team.”