An FOI request from The Australia Institute has revealed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has “several hundreds of pages” of documents relating to Ministers and officials making formal representations to foreign financiers to back the Adani project.
“With ‘several hundreds of pages’ of relevant documents across multiple parts of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, it appears Australian public servants have been doing a lot of work related to Adani,” said Ben Oquist, Executive Director of The Australia Institute.
DFAT has missed its extended deadline, meaning the FOI request is now deemed ‘refused’. The Department has sought an extension after the fact.
“We already knew Adani stood to benefit from a Queensland government secret royalty deal, local government subsidies, and a possible $1bn subsidised NAIF loan. Now it appears that the Australian government has been soliciting foreign funding for the project on Adani’s request.
“This is a hugely controversial project. The government should make clear about what sort of international assistance it has provided.
“Government assistance to Adani’s coal project is a risk to our environment, to existing coal producers and to Australian taxpayers,” said Oquist.
“At a time when the world aims to tackle climate change, the last thing we should be doing is providing government assistance to opening up massive new coal mines,” said Oquist.
Research from the Australia Institute has found 68% oppose the NAIF loan to Adani, and 58% say it would damage the government’s reputation, which NAIF’s Mandate specifically prohibits it from doing.