Political allies of Australian Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who has been opposing the 21.7 billion dollar Adani Coal and Mine project, today expressed strong support to the Indian mining giant's venture in Queensland.
Melbourne: Political allies of Australian Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who has been opposing the 21.7 billion dollar Adani Coal and Mine project, on Wednesday expressed strong support to the Indian mining giant's venture in Queensland.
According to media reports, unions, including Australian Workers Unions, regional mayors and Queensland Labour government were now pushing for approval to be granted for a commonwealth loan for Adani's project as well as changes to native title laws.
The support comes a day after Australian Opposition leader Shorten opposed granting the loan to the project while questioning if the project "stacks up", according to Sky news.
Shorten said although he was "very keen to see jobs in mining", federal Labour opposed any loan being given to Adani.
"But I also have to sound this note of caution: we need the Adani project to stack up," he was quoted as saying by the local media.
"It needs to stack up environmentally, it needs to stack up commercially. I haven't seen the case made for the taxpayer to underwrite a billion-dollar loan to build a rail line," he said.
Adani has applied for a concessional loan from the 5 billion dollar Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, with the support of Queensland Labour government, to help build a rail line connecting its proposed coalmine and the Abbot Point port.
The 2.5 billion dollar rail line has won state and federal approval on the condition it could be used by other resource companies that are proposing to build coalmines in the Galilee Basin.
Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met Gautam Adani, chairman and founder of Adani Group, during his trip to India and discussed the?issues of loan and native title laws.
Turnbull?said it would create "tens of thousands" of jobs and boost state and federal budgets for years and that the rail?project was only a "relatively small part" of the capital required for the total project.
'The Australian' qouted an indigenous member of Wangan and Jaglingou people, Robert Langton, who have a native-title claim over the mine site, saying "I just want a job, the unemployment around here is really high and here isn't much hope".
Langton said, "This mine is hopefully going to give a lot people a job now and into the future".
Yesterday,?Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said "The carmichael coalmine rail port project has undergone a comprehensive and transparent environmental assessment process, according to state and commonwelath legislation and hundreds of condisions apply".
Queensland Australian Workers' Union state secretary Ben Swan backed the project and said securing a loan will open up the region.
"Whatever the application is for Adani, it should be assessed on its merits and the government has set up an independent process for that," Swan said.
"My union is hopeful that this project gets beyond what has seemingly been an endless process of objections and obstacles," he added.
Townsville mayor Jenny Hill said, "it should be considered as investment in building infrastructure for whole industry that is going to build jobs for this region".
Meanwhile, a group of anti-Adani mine protesters held a demonstration in front of the Indian High Commission in Canberra protesting against the project.
The protesters from 'Stop Adani Canberra Action Group', raised their objections after Adani-Turnbull meeting and to send a message to the Indian Government that a section of local people were against the mine.
The group, in a statement, said that they gave a copy of Adani Files which contained?a report about?details of Adani's alleged "reckless corporate behaviour and destructive environmental and social impacts".
"We're sending a clear message to the Indian Government that the Australian community does not want the Adani mine," said Harita Sridhar, spokesperson for Canberra Stop Adani Action Group.
"Over the past month, over 140 'Stop Adani Action Groups' have sprung up from one end of the country to the other," Sridhar said, adding "We're serious about stopping this damaging mine because of its impacts on the global climate, the Great Barrier Reef, and our groundwater".