News State Queensland ‘Fed up’ with delays, Queensland premier announces deadline for Adani approvals

‘Fed up’ with delays, Queensland premier announces deadline for Adani approvals

Adani's planned coal mine in central Queensland aims to become Australia's biggest mining project. Photo: AAP
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the two approvals Adani needs to build its contentious coal mine should be resolved within weeks.

Ms Palaszczuk ordered a meeting between Adani and state environment department officials who met on Thursday to agree on a deadline to finalise approvals the mine needs to proceed.

“I know initially people thought this was months, what I’m announcing today (is) it’s a matter of weeks,” she told reporters in Cairns on Friday morning.

“I am very pleased that all parties have come to the table and have been working with the coordinator-general.”

The meeting comes five days after federal Labor’s bruising defeat in regional Queensland electorates, which gave a clear message they want the mine to go ahead for the employment it promises.

The premier said a decision was expected by May 31 on Adani’s plan to protect the endangered black throated finch, which lives on the mine site.

And a decision on the company’s groundwater management plan is due by June 13.

If both approvals are finalised, work at the Carmichael Mine site could begin within weeks.

Later on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a clear message for the Queensland government: “Get on with it”.

Mr Morrison says compliance measures for the mine should be followed like any other project.

“And people should have the certainty about those processes being followed and them not being delayed,” he told reporters in Cloncurry in Queensland’s north.

“And so that’s what should happen. They have a decision to make. They’re the authority on these questions and they should make those decisions.”

Indian-owned Adani has faced environmental protest since it flagged the project, with the Stop Adani movement vowing continue its war against the mine.

But Mr Morrison says he has spoken India’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, noting that India will be an important investment partner for Australia.

“I was talking to Prime Minister Modi last night to congratulate him on his election win and he was kindly returning the favour,” he said.

“India is going to be an incredibly important investment partner for Australia and it’s a two-way street, and India will be an enormously big trading partner for Australia in the future.”

On Wednesday, after Labor’s shock defeat at the federal election, the premier said she was “fed up” with procedural delays that have plagued the mine, and she acknowledged regional Queenslanders were fed up with it too.

On Thursday, Queensland’s first and only Greens MP Michael Berkman warned the mine was just the “tip of the spear.”

“It could open up the entire Galilee Basin which is the biggest untapped coal reserve in the world, and that would be a catastrophe for climate change.”

Former Greens leader Bob Brown accused Adani of “bullying and hectoring the state government into breaching proper environmental process” around its plans to protect groundwater and the endangered black-throated finch.

Mackay mayor Greg Williamson said regional communities were still angry at Bob Brown’s anti-Adani convoy and there was no doubt that had Labor won the federal election, the Adani mine would have been scrapped by the state government.

“We have had rallies where we have never rallied before and I spoke to a guy with a grinder just doing his day’s work and he said ‘Quexit, bring it on’. That’s the feeling of people in regional Queensland,” he said.



-with AAP