The Queensland premier has called on Adani to provide more details about its scaled-down Carmichael coal mine.
Annastacia Palaszczuk is sceptical about the Indian miner’s announcement it will self-fund a much smaller version of the mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
She says Adani’s new plans are very different from what it originally promised and will require new negotiations, telling ABC television: “We will believe it when we see it.”
“They will have to have agreements with (rail operator) Aurizon.
“We haven’t seen any evidence of that yet,” she said.
Deputy federal opposition leader Tanya Plibersek is also sceptical, saying people should remember Adani’s many false starts.
But she appeared cold on calls for a federal Labor government to tear up existing approvals. ”People shouldn’t think it’s easy to ignore signed agreements, or tear up signed agreements that have been made,” she told ABC radio on Friday.
“We need to be very careful when we’re talking about ignoring the law.”
She said bank after bank had refused to bankroll the mine “because most people understand that we’ve gone past the peak demand for coal”.
The timing of Adani’s announcement on Thursday, during Queensland’s bushfire emergency, has outraged many.
Federal Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan, who lives in Rockhampton near where fires have threatened homes, described Adani on social media as “a little Aussie battler” that “just keeps chugging along”.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters responded: “Min Canavan congratulating Adani for self-funding its climate-destroying coal mine as his hometown burns is tragic irony and neglect.”
The coal mine has long been a thorn in the side of Queensland’s Labor government, which has had to walk the line between supporting job creation in central Queensland and concern for the environment.
Critics say Labor’s position is absurd, and it can’t be serious about protecting climate sensitive ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef while also supporting the fossil fuel industry.
Ms Palaszczuk’s stance on Adani has been hardening, and she’s made a series of public attacks on the company’s slow pace of progress, saying it has failed to meet key finance and job creation milestones.
Last November, just days before the state election, she bluntly told the company to “just get on with it and do it”.
A couple of weeks earlier, she vowed to veto a federal government loan Adani wanted to help fund rail infrastructure to get its coal to the coast for export.
She initially claimed the veto was to avoid conflict of interest claims after it emerged her then-partner Shaun Drabsch had done consultancy work for the company.
The premier claimed the Liberal National Party planned to use that information to smear her.
But she later claimed vetoing the loan had always been on the cards, and taxpayers must not be asked to fund any aspect of the project.