Statement on the Announcement Adani Royalty Deal Delayed Again

The Queensland Government has announced its royalty deal arrangement with Adani, due by Saturday 30th November 2019, has been delayed yet again and no new deadline has been set.

“This loan deal should never have been on the table, it is against Queensland’s interests and will be to Queensland’s shame if it is waved through,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute.

“For this announcement to be delayed yet again, this time with no new deadline set, shows just how absurd this whole process has been.

“The Australia Institute has researched this loan deal from every angle and no matter how you look at it, this is atrocious policy making.

“This situation is farcical. Adani and Premier Palaszczuk say the Adani mine needs no subsidy and won’t get any, however, for over two and a half years the Queensland Government has being trying to subsidise Adani with a special royalty deal.

“With Queensland facing increasing costs from climate-fuelled disasters, the Queensland Government should not be using taxpayer dollars to help build new coal mines, let alone using taxpayer dollars subsidising them. Coal mines that do operate must pay up to help cover the costs.

“In fact, our Climate of the Nation 2019 report found only four percent of Australians support using taxpayer funds to subsidise new coal mines, while most Australians oppose the construction of any new coal mines.”

Background and Australia Institute research on the Queensland / Adani Royalty Deal

  • The Queensland Government royalty subsidy to Adani is a cheap rate loan not available to other Queensland industries or to Queenslanders themselves, possibly worth hundreds of millions dollars.
  • It is exactly the same sort of subsidy as the $1 billion NAIF (Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility) loan Premier Palaszczuk vetoed days after winning the last election.
  • The QLD Government offered the subsidy after Adani threatened to pull out of its mine project if they didn’t get it. It was offered under a “transparent policy framework” rushed out for Adani’s benefit and consisting of a few dot points at the end of a press release.
  • The QLD Government is dealing with Adani in secret and has repeatedly blocked access to any information about the deal, admitting it relates to Cabinet decisions about spending public money. But Right to Information documents show despite QLD Treasury’s view the mine is not commercially bankable, they are offering “beneficial arrangements” to Adani’s project.
  • Queensland Treasury admits “spending on mining related infrastructure means less infrastructure spending in other areas … such as hospitals and schools”.
  • Queensland taxpayers are at risk of subsidising a privately-owned, unregulated monopoly asset. The royalty deal is meant to be about open access to Adani’s rail line, but there is no arrangement with the Queensland Competition Authority to regulate Adani’s rail line, unlike the rest of the rail network.
  • Adani’s new, smaller rail proposal would have limited capacity and rely on Aurizon’s network, but Adani will not have to pay for upgrades required for other mines.
  • The Queensland Government already subsidises thermal coal by charging royalties 17% lower than in NSW, selling itself short and giving Adani yet another subsidy by locking in low royalty rates. Polls show Queenslanders want royalties increased, not decreased.