Adani says Bill Shorten's promise not to derail its Queensland coal mine is great news and it is pushing on with efforts to stitch up finance for the project.
The Indian miner has taken comfort from the federal opposition leader’s assurances that Labor won’t kill off the project if it wins the next election.
On Monday Mr Shorten offered a clear-cut position on the $16.5 billion mine, saying “I don’t support the Adani project”.
But Mr Shorten – who’s previously questioned if Queenslanders are being “led on with the promise of fake jobs” – also said he wouldn’t tear up Adani’s approvals.
“When contracts are entered in to by previous governments, we can’t just simply rip them up because that would then create investment uncertainty,” he said.
Adani has taken that as good news.
“We welcome the comments from federal Labor that it will not seek to overturn the project’s 112 existing approvals, which have been tested and upheld in 12 legal challenges,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
It said it remained confident of financing the project, and detailed design work for the mine and an associated railway was progressing. The company also railed against the notion of phantom jobs.
“There are 800 people working with us now across our operations and projects in Bowen, Townsville, Brisbane and at our sites.”
Queensland’s Labor premier was forced to restate her support for the mine in parliament on Tuesday, after a grilling by the opposition.
“The government supports Adani as long as it financially stacks up. We have been clear about that from day one,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I will stand up for Queensland and for jobs in the resources sector, for what it brings this state.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused Mr Shorten of being two-faced by saying one thing to unions, who want the 10,000 direct and indirect jobs Adani has promised, and another to green groups fighting the mine.
He’s also accused the Labor leader of trying to win over conservation-minded voters ahead of this month’s by-election in the federal Melbourne seat of Batman, which Labor is in danger of losing to the Greens.
Queensland Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm has claimed there’s growing concern about the lack of progress among some regional mayors.
He said they included the mayors of Townsville and Rockhampton, two centres that are expecting vast economic benefits from the mine.
“Even they are getting frustrated that the company is failing to meet deadlines … it’s failing to meet its end of the bargain,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.
Townsville mayor Jenny Hill declined to comment .
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says he’s not aware of any evidence to suggest Adani won’t press on with the project, and there’s no request in front of him for government financial support.