Australian Election Bodes Ill for Adani

first_imgAustralian Election Bodes Ill for Adani FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wire:The Adani group’s chances of getting a $900 million (AUD) concessional government loan — crucial to its Carmichael coal mine project — are approximating close to zero as the Australian Labour Party (ALP) is set to form the government in Queensland — the north-eastern Australian state home to the proposed Adani coal mine.The ALP went into polls with the promise that they will veto the prospective Federal government loan to the Adani group, and that became the critical point of difference between the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the ALP — the two major parties that went head-to-head in the elections held on November 25.The $900 million (AUD) loan with an interest rate lower than commercial lending rates and a repayment period longer than commercial lending periods would have reached the Adani group through the Federal government body, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF). The tax-payer subsidised loan was being seen as a lifeline for the project which has huffed, puffed, but struggled to raise any finance as banks and financial institutions across the world have decided to stay away from the project due to the uncertainty around the global coal market and due to the project’s controversial nature.Three weeks prior to polling, on November 4, leader of the ALP in the state and the sitting Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, announced that her government will veto the prospective NAIF loan to the Adani group. The announcement came as a surprise as Palaszczuk had previously stood steadfastly behind the project even as the project faced massive public opposition.ALP’s definitive stand ensured that the Adani loan issue — which was already one of the top-most elections issues — became the most significant talking point leading up to polling day. “It had always been a very significant issue. But, with the Premier’s decision to veto the loan, it became the most significant issue going into the elections as it became the point of difference between the two parties,” said Joshua Robertson, correspondent with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and earlier with the Guardian Australia, and someone who has covered the Adani mine project since 2014.Various social organisations and activist groups have been protesting and lobbying against the Adani coal mine for the last three years with the protests gathering momentum in the last few months as the organisations came together under the ‘Stop Adani’ alliance, which, like its name, used uncomplicated messaging to try and convince the Australian people that the Adani coal mine would do more harm than good.“It has been a very smart and effective campaign. People across the country have become more opposed to the mine and I don’t think anyone wants to see tax-payer’s money given to a billionaire,” said Paul Williams, senior lecturer in politics at Griffith University in Queensland.On October 4, a month prior to ALP’s announcement that it would veto the NAIF loan, a survey of 2,194 residents across Australia was conducted and the results showed that 55.6% of those surveyed were opposed to the Adani coal mine. When asked if the Queensland government should veto the Federal government loan to Adani, 65.8% of the respondents said yes.“The public opinion and the campaign against the mine caught up with the Labour party (ALP). We have been tirelessly campaigning against the mine for the last two-three years, and politicians sooner-or-later had to bow down to public opinion. That’s what happened with the ALP’s veto announcement,” Sam Regester, campaigns director at GetUp, an activist group part of the ‘Stop Adani’ alliance, told me in a phone conversation.As growing public opinion against the Adani coal mine cajoled the ALP into saying no to the NAIF loan, the mine’s dependence on the subsidised loan grew. As many as 24 Australian and international banks either refused to fund the project or introduced rules that would make the Carmichael project out-of-bounds for them. The options that remained for Adani to finance the project such as Chinese state owned enterprises — which the Adani group had approached — also depended on the explicit endorsement of the project by the Australian government in the form of the NAIF loan. “I don’t think the Chinese state owned enterprise would even contemplate doing a project in Australia without an explicit endorsement of the project by the Australian government. And there is nothing more explicit than being a key funder. If the Chinese knew that the NAIF wasn’t available, I don’t think they would even give it a moment’s thought. It is too controversial a project,” Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, within the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a pro-renewables energy research firm, told me in October.After losing out on the NAIF loan, there was more bad news for the Adani group as Buckley’s words turned prophetic, and Chinese banks started distancing themselves from the project, almost on cue, as results of the Queensland elections started trickling in and it appeared certain that the ALP would form the government in Queensland meaning that there would be no Federal government NAIF loan for the Adani project.Between December 1 and December 5, three Chinese banks publicly stated that they will not be financing the Adani coal mine project. These banks include some of the biggest banks in the world — Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Bank of China.More: Election Will Impact Adani’s $4-Billion Minelast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *