Key Queensland crossbencher Rob Katter says the state’s outback economy is “dying” and the stalled Carmichael mega-mine is the best way to revive it.

The Mount Isa MP, who along with his Katter’s Australian Party colleague Shane Knuth and a handful of other crossbenchers hold the balance of power in state parliament, says a feeling of “despair” would deepen in places like Townsville if the $21 billion mine project is held up.

“I’m not saying it’s all perfect and kosher with the environment, but it’s the best solution we’ve got and we’re dying out there,” Mr Katter told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“I just wish these people would care a little bit more about human lives than they do about their ideologies.”

Mr Katter said high youth unemployment was an ongoing problem in his electorate and was a sign of the weakening economic situation.

“There needs to be a balance of the ledger; I don’t think Adani and Glencore and all these mining companies are the best in the world, but we still need them to invest somewhere,” he said.

His comments come as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk faces intense pressure over a proposed deal to give Adani a “royalties holiday”, which is heavily opposed by Labor’s dominant Left faction.

The issue escalated on Tuesday when Ms Palaszczuk was forced to dodge questions over her leadership in state parliament.

It’s understood Ms Palaszczuk struck the deal at a meeting with Gautam Adani in India in March, which would have seen the company pay as little as $2 million in royalties annually in the first seven years of the mine’s operation.

It would cost Queensland taxpayers up to $320 million.

The Premier has since faced a cabinet revolt over the issue, with a number of ministers, led by the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, saying the deal contravened a pre-election promise not to subsidise the project.

Cabinet’s delay in making a decision on the proposal on Monday afternoon was slammed by the federal government, the LNP state opposition, regional mayors and Adani itself.

But the mining giant has reportedly confirmed the huge mine is viable even without the royalties relief. It’s the $2 billion rail project, which is intended to be open for use by future mine operators in the region, that would trouble the balance sheet.

“This means we are being required to solely bear the significant up front costs of expanding the line capacity,” an Adani spokesperson told The Courier-Mail.

The company has deferred Monday’s board meeting set down to make their final investment decision, with a spokesman saying they’re willing to wait but not indefinitely.


By Alexandra Patrikios
  • These old wive's tales appear every generation but were shown to be false and debunked decades or more ago. Dead mining regions the world over show convincingly that the vast majority of wealth generated by mining never ever gets anywhere near the mining or country communities. It stays in the city and in the case of Adani most likely would not even enter the Australian financial system.

    The give aways from both Federal and State governments to enable this development point to its uneconomic nature, without them the business case is suspect if a non starter and an extremely high price to pay for low level mostly labouring jobs which will evaporate the moment the economics go against coal in this case. Which could be much sooner than many think or Adani is suggesting.

    The Outback needs permanent wealth generating income not government subsidised bottom of the income ladder temporary work.
    In 1970 I visited Sandstone, WA a place everyone calls Toomstone as the rusting wreckage, slag heaps and lack of any reason to want to live there stand testament to the evaporating nature of mining wealth that never stuck there. The street lighting stretched beyond the few houses and sealed roads and the electricity generator was only run for a couple of hours a day.

    Yes the Outback is dying and mostly dying for far better and durable development than a politician's quick vote catching fix will bring. Intellectually bankrupt ideas promoted by politicians who ignore history's realities will only prolong the dying as they offer nothing but old worn out ideas. We should laugh at such nonsense and do the thinking and planning that this task deserves and needs.

  • This nonsense has all been heard before. These politicians are simply looking for votes.

    What the rural communities needs is not a few labouring jobs with low wages that will disappear with the mine when it is done leaving a rusty heap and holes in the ground.

    Permanent durable development that creates a viable stable community and not just cash flow to off shore entities with a few pennies scattered to the locals.

    We should laugh and dismiss those who can see no further than there next election and their own funding needs. The message is clear, coal is the last thing we need to be digging out of the ground and certainly not for a dodgy mutilnational with no longterm commitment to Australia or Australians let alone the bush.

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