Media release

Northern Australians better off supporting farmers, not coal

Northern Australians will get more bang for their buck if a $900 million taxpayer loan is redirected from Adani’s rail link to supporting infrastructure for the agricultural sector, a new report reveals.

Economics professor at University of Queensland, John Quiggin found spending the money on transport for agriculture, critical water infrastructure projects and disaster preparedness creates more jobs, will boost productivity and have better environmental and social outcomes than loaning tax payer funds to the mega coal corporation.

“The Adani railway will create fewer than 350 direct jobs per year over the lifetime of the loan, essentially costing taxpayers $2.7million per job. If the money was spent on agriculture, we could create the equivalent of 632 full time jobs across the agriculture sector, boost productivity in Northern Australia and help rural communities thrive,” Professor Quiggin said.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will decide in the next few months whether to lend Adani the money to build a railway line to transport coal from its proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin to its coal port at Abbot Point.

Rockhampton beef farmer Mick Alexander says expansion of coal mining in the Galilee Basin posed a threat to groundwater supplies and would be likely to impact on productivity of local farmers.

“This massive corporation is getting free water, has a special deal to defer royalty payments and will create more emissions which will intensify climate change. Local farmers are already being hit hard by the impacts of our changing climate, so why is our Government using tax payer funds to support this project?”

Farmers for Climate Action chief executive Verity Morgan-Schmidt says this analysis along with other independent reports highlight just how risky this loan is.

“Deferred royalty payments and an unlimited groundwater license are already being offered to Adani to develop a project previously described by the Queensland Treasury as ‘unbankable’.”

“Politicians continue to insist loaning tax-payer funds to Adani is the only way to create jobs for North Queensland. This report shows that is not the case – there are better ways to create jobs for Queenslanders today, without cooking the planet and undermining our long-term sustainability,” MS Morgan Schmidt said.

“The projects identified in this report are just a sample of the alternative opportunities for job creation in the agricultural sector across Northern Australia. This report opens the door for engaging the community of Northern Australia to discuss the future they want to have. Our future lies in clean energy and food security – not in financing fossil fuels.”




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