Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Australia's ex-Cabinet minister, influential pop star, environmentalist "backs" anti-Adani coalmine campaign

By Our Representative
Former environment minister and rock music icon Peter Garrett in a prestigious National Press Club address in Canberra, has sharply criticised the Australian government for supporting Adani’s coal mine which he says will accelerate climate change and threaten the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, reports South Asia Times (SAT) from Melbourne.
Garrett was Federal environment minister for the Labour government from 2007 to 2010 and Cabinet minister from 2007 to 13. A member of the Order of Australia for contributions to the music industry and environment, Garrett is a lead singer of Midnight Oil, one of Australia’s most successful bands, says SAT.
Garrett particularly condemned the proposed AU$1 billion loan of public money to Adani’s project for a mine which he said is opposed by the indigenous people. It would take vast amounts of water from Australian farmers and put the Great Barrier Reef and jobs which rely on the Reef at risk, he added.
On the growing public push in Australia to stop the coal mine going ahead, Garrett said, “The Stop Adani campaign, the fourth major fight to save the Reef, is a defining moment that must be won if we are to have any hope of preserving a safe climate and the Reef.”
“Garrett pledged that his world famous rock band, Midnight Oil, will support Australians rallying to oppose the project”, SAT adds.
Meanwhile, the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Fight for Our Reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven said, most Australians believe the state of the Great Barrier Reef is a national emergency. They want governments to reduce carbon pollution and invest more public money in clean energy sources like solar and wind.
“Our Great Barrier Reef has already suffered two back-to-back bleaching events driven by climate change. As a result, half of all the Reef’s shallow water corals bleached and died”, Zethoven said, adding, “Any threat to the Reef is also a threat to the 64,000 workers who depend on a healthy Reef for their livelihoods, not to mention the $6 billion it generates every year for the Australian economy.”
Garrett’s criticism of the Adani project comes a fortnight after large protests across Australia on October 7 against Indian mining giant Adani Enterprises’ proposed Carmichael coal mine, which, claim local media, would be the country’s largest coal mine but has been delayed for years over environmental and financing issues.
Environment groups, who organized the protests, said the mine in Queensland state would contribute to global warming and damage the Great Barrier Reef. The Stop Adani movement alone organized 45 protests. On the sands of Sydney’s Bondi Beach, more than 1,000 people formed a human sign saying 'Stop Adani’.
The national rallies took place as new polling showed that more than half of Australians oppose the mine (click HERE), even as analysts raised doubts about whether Adani can fund the mine, at an initial cost of $4 billion, given a global backlash to investment in fossil fuels.
Refusing the concerns of the protesters, the Adani Enterprises said, the project would pay billions of dollars in royalties and taxes, create jobs and export coal to India help bring electricity to rural regions. Adani has been counting on a A$900 million loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a rail link to the proposed mine.

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