If Malcolm Turnbull does provide $1bn in taxpayer support to the Adani Carmichael coalmine via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility it will show that while the prime minister may have lost many things in the past 12 months, he has not lost his agility.
At 40km long and 10km wide, the size of the Adani coalmine is simply beyond most people’s comprehension.
The economic modelling commissioned by Adani themselves concludes that building the world’s largest coalmine in remote Queensland will “Crowd out” hundreds of manufacturing jobs as mines need people with similar skills and there isn’t time to train up new apprentices.
Despite the fact that Adani’s own economists have sworn under oath that the mine will create less than 1,500 jobs, the federal government, the Queensland premier and the Adani public relations machine all claim that the project would create 10,000 or more jobs.
There are more than 140,000 unemployed people in Queensland and the Queensland unemployment rate would remain well above the national average with or without the environmental devastation of the Adani Carmichael mine.
There is no doubt that the public wants action to create jobs, but there is also no doubt that the vast majority of the public would prefer that taxpayers’ money be used to do almost anything other than subsidise an enormous new coalmine.
The fact that the Adani mine is not economically viable without public subsidies should send a powerful signal to the conservatives in the Coalition that they are backing the wrong horse.
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