After overcoming multiple legal challenges, the mining corporation Adani is now pushing ahead with preliminary works for its coal mine in Queensland. This has opened a new phase of the campaign against a mega-project which will have a disastrous impact on the environment locally and globally, including on the Great Barrier Reef.
The $16.5 billion project will be Australia’s biggest coal mine and will unleash 128 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. This is greater than the annual emissions from the fossil fuel combustion of over 100 individual countries!
This is all going ahead with the backing of both major parties. It was revealed recently that Cameron ¬Milner and David Moore, who are lobbyists for Adani, have held high ranking positions in both the Labor and Liberal Party respectively.
These people have helped Adani to gloss over environmental concerns and boast that the mine will bring tens of thousands of jobs to the struggling region of North Queensland, an area with some of the worst unemployment in the country.
This claim is false and was admitted by Adani’s own expert economist Dr Jerome Fahrer, who said in court that the mine would only produce approximately 1400 jobs per year. At the same time, the damage caused to the Great Barrier Reef could cause up to 70,000 tourism jobs to be lost.
It is crucial that the campaign against Adani takes up this issue of jobs and strives to get the trade union movement on board. Organised workers will add significant weight to the campaign.
The best chance to defeat Adani is a mass struggle involving environmental and community groups, as well as trade unions. These groups can be united around a program to demand green, sustainable jobs: for renewable energy infrastructure, more public housing, and increased public services instead of dirty coal.
By Tim Tran