CFMEU: Palaszcuk being conned by “corporate carpetbaggers”

CFMEU's Michael Ravbar

Four days after Labor lost the ‘unloseable’ 2019 Federal Election, Queensland’s (Labor) Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded action and a timeframe on Adani’s Carmichael coal mine approvals process, saying she’s fed up with waiting, despite the Queensland Government treading water on the process for nearly two years.

The sudden announcement from the Premier has raised eyebrows, none higher than the CFMEU, which says the Permier is being conned.

The union said in a press statement Ms Palaszczuk’s sudden rush to get the Adani approval process resolved risks selling out local jobs and threatening water security in Central Queensland.

The state secretary of the CFMEU’s construction and general division, Michael Ravbar, warned that Ms Palaszczuk risked being taken for a ride by a shonky multinational with a chequered corporate history.

“This coal, and the 12.5 billion litres of water that Adani also plans to extract every year, is owned by the people of Queensland, yet we see little evidence that Adani is offering anything in return,” Mr Ravbar said.

“Our concern is that the promise of jobs and prosperity that was such a touchstone in the federal election is a myth; a fiction designed to hoodwink people into thinking Adani will be a good corporate citizen.

“Before Ms Palaszczuk even thinks about pushing this project any further forward she must extract iron clad guarantees from Adani that the mine will bring long-term, permanent jobs for Queenslanders, and also procure the maximum possible amount of goods and services from local communities.

“Without such guarantees we all know what will happen. Adani will ship in its construction workforce in from India under so-called free trade provisions while Australian engineers, construction workers and local suppliers miss out.”

“Then when the mine is operational it will be largely automated, with robots and remote controlled machinery – perhaps with a handful of labour hire workers on insecure, casual agreements – shipping our coal offshore with little or no benefit to local communities or the wider Queensland economy.

“Without enforceable guarantees on secure local jobs and procurement – along with sureties relating to water security – the Premier risks being conned by corporate carpetbaggers.”

Adani and some politicians have said the project will deliver 10,000 new jobs to the region. According to The Conversation, the number that appears on approval documents on the Queensland Department of State’s project website for the original plan would be up to 6395 with 3920 ongoing. But, since Adani cut the size of the mine late last year, the number of jobs will be more likely around the 1464 mark, according to Adani’s special witness Jerome Fahrer.