Hundreds of people gathered in Melbourne, one of Australia's biggest cities, to protest against the Adani Group's plans to dig a massive coalmine in Queensland province's Galilee Basin, with an actor depicting the country's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull being controlled by “puppeteer” Gautam Adani, Adani Group chairman.
Held outside the Commonwealth Offices in Melbourne, those who organized the rally included the Asutralian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Australian Youth Climate Coalition and 350.org. Gautam Adani is expected to meet the Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Offices at Treasury Place, Melbourne, later this week.
“Malcom Turnbull has a clear choice”, said Sinclair, asking him to “honour an iron clad election promise” or do a “dirty deal with Adani to use Australian taxpayers’ money to fund a coal-carting railway line from the Galilee Basin to the Great Barrier Reef coast.”
”Adani’s mine will create more reef-wrecking climate pollution than the entire country of New Zealand produces in a year”, he insisted, adding, “We cannot have the reef and this coal mine. We choose the reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it. ”
The rally took place even as the Indian mining giant Adani Group's plan to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia got a major boost as it secured the final approval for a permanent rail line and a temporary construction camp for the 21.7 billion dollars controversy-hit project.
The rail section approved will form part of the 389-kilometre heavy haul railway line from the mine in the Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point port, say local media reports, quoting State Development Minister Anthony Lynham as saying that “milestone” project “will start construction next year.”
Meanwhile, Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, opposing the mine, said, “The Queensland and Federal governments have knowingly overlooked that we stand in the way of this mine and when we say ‘no’ we mean no. Through our legal actions we are intent on stopping this massive and destructive project from moving forward.”
Amidst reports that up to $1 billion of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has been earmarked for the project, a recent Essential Poll on the controversial project said, 62% of Australians think the proposed Adani mine is a treat to the Reef and shouldn’t go ahead.
ACF, in a separate statement, said, “The NAIF is supposed to fund projects that are in the public interest, not coal mines that will create more reef-wrecking climate pollution and jeopardise up to 70,000 jobs that rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef”, adding, “In India, Adani has faced numerous accusations of damaging the environment and failing to comply with regulations and laws.”
Pix courtesy James Thomas