OPINION: It's time to stop flogging Adani's 'dead horse'
AS THE dust settles on this decision it is time for the Federal Resources Minister and Queensland Senator Matt Canavan to re-evaluate the staunch and ferocious support he has shown for this project.
While support for renewable energy - both financially and in terms of popularity - has grown in Australia and around the world, prominent Queensland politicians such as Canavan and George Christensen continue to back Adani's dead-end project. They have made a career out of pushing the miracle that would be the Adani coal mine. Thefacts just don't stack up to the mythology. The miraculous 10,000 jobs that were initially promised as part of the project were discovered to be a fallacy - in court no less.
The writing is on the wall for coal: prices have tanked and some of the biggest coal companies, such as Peabody Energy, are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy; the countries that have driven the demand for Australian coal are transitioning their energy systems away from a reliance on coal; the Paris Accord, signed this year by most countries in the world has agreed that the era of coal has to end.
Hundreds of jobs are being lost in the Bowen basin and across the region with huge impacts on our communities. Families are moving away from towns like Mackay and unemployment is rising.
If the question is 'where to from here', then the answer from Canavan and Christensen has been one of feigned ignorance and neglect in their duty to prepare their state to meet the energy needs of the 21st century. While passionately campaigning for the mega coal project to go ahead they both actively advocated for cuts to the renewable energy sector. Last year, the then Senator called the renewable energy target "one big punt" that gets "less bang for more buck". This is despite the renewable energy sector being one of the fastest growing industries in Australia. Right now Australia's Renewable Energy Agency has 10 major solar proposals in Queensland on its books - it is expected these projects would create 2700 new jobs. These are real projects ready to go now that will create real jobs in industries that won't wreck the reef. They're under threat from the Federal Government's plans to cut $1billion from the renewables fund.
We have to accept the reality that global energy needs are shifting. Whilst the coal industry has played an important role in our past, it is the major driver of global warming and it must be phased out if we are to leave our children with an inhabitable planet. Fortunately, Queensland is blessed with an abundance of natural, renewable resources. But, we are way behind other states and the rest of the world when it comes to renewable energy generation. This is largely because politicians like Canavan are set on digging up more coal.
It's time for us to face the reality of the end of the mining boom and for Canavan and Christensen to support an alternative plan for creating long-term jobs in regional Queensland - that doesn't rely on flogging Adani's dead horse.