Taxpayer dollars could help fuel new coal projects in the Central Queensland Galilee Basin
Could a change in the Australian government leadership signal a new era of federal funded contributions to develop coal mining assets further?
Australia’s newest Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has hinted that the government has intention to use taxpayer dollars to help fuel new projects in the coal mining industry.
Speaking with the Australian Financial Review, Mr Frydenberg, who co-incidentally is also the Minister for Northern Australia, said the $5 billion infrastructure fund announced in the May budget could contribute to the development of significant infrastructure such as the Adani and other Galilee Basin mining projects.
Former treasurer Joe Hockey also hinted that Indian-based Adani, which plans to build the Carmichael mine, touted at being Australia’s largest coal mine, could receive taxpayer money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help construct the 300 kilometre rail link from Carmichael mine in Central Queensland to coal loading terminals at Abbot Point.
When asked if the fund might be used for rail projects for Galilee coal, Frydenberg said: “Yes, if there is a good case and state governments are willing to step up, then you would think that rail is one of the areas where it will go.
A poll questioned 4300 voters from Newcastle, Eden Monaro, New England, North Sydney, Sturt, Wentworth and Wide Bay ““ on whether they would like to see government mining subsidies transferred to essential services.
Support ranged from 65 per cent to 77 per cent.
In one of his first actions as minister, Mr Frydenberg spoke with Queensland’s Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham and Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Adani’s Carmichael mine project has been a constant battle for years between the government and environment groups after the Mackay Conservation Council used a federal court challenge to successfully highlight flaws in Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s assessment of the project.
Mr Hunt is currently reassessing the Adani Carmichael project and a decision is expected to be reached at any time.
Mr Frydenberg said that managing the conflict between environment groups and investors was going to be a real challenge and delivered a stern warning that “anti-development activism” could see Australia missing out on large mining projects being financed by overseas investors.
He said the Carmichael mine was a very important project, which will see significant investment in Australia and provide electricity to millions of people in the developing world.
Frydenberg also made reference to the fact that if Australia does not get behind these massive mining projects, then other nations will fill the void very quickly – and he was not just talking about coal. Iron ore is also on the table as new developments sit waiting to be approved.