Business

Cousins baffled by business case for mine

Geoff Cousins says he's baffled by Queensland Labor's support for the coal industry. (AAP)

Millionaire businessman Geoff Cousins says he's baffled by Qld Labor's support for the dying, damaging coal industry while it's investing in renewable energy.

Queensland Labor's dogged support for the Adani coal mine is economically dumb, but even more stupid when the risks to the reef are considered, millionaire businessman Geoff Cousins says.

The former Howard government adviser and prominent ad man, who's also the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, has accused Labor of having a schizophrenic plan for Queensland's economy.

He says the state government's support for a dying industry is baffling, purely from a business perspective.

"You do not support the biggest coal mine ever built in the history of this country while the world is moving away from it. You don't put massive resources into a declining industry," Mr Cousins told ABC radio on Tuesday.

He says it's even more difficult to find any logic behind Labor's support for the mine in central Queensland when it will imperil the 70,000 jobs the Great Barrier Reef supports.

Labor is simultaneously aiming to meet a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, and get to zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

Mr Cousins said Labor appeared to believe in some sort of imaginary balance sheet where it could do good with one hand, and bad with the other.

"There's no logic in that," he said.

The Stop Adani Alliance says it has thousands of protesters ready to follow Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her LNP rival Tim Nicholls every day of the four-week election campaign.

The premier and Mr Nicholls, whose party also backs the mine, have both seen campaign events interrupted by Adani protesters. On Monday, Ms Palaszczuk asked for respect after saying she'd feared one protester might tackle her during a live television cross.

On Tuesday, the premier said she wasn't scared of encountering Adani protesters.

"I was out walking this morning," she told reporters in Townsville, where Adani's headquarters is based and where many mine-related jobs will be created.

"We support the resources sector in this state. It contributes about $2 billion to the Queensland economy. That's a lot of money."

But she also said Queensland's economy was diversifying, and that would include new investment in renewables. Ms Palaszczuk said she was also pushing to create a biofuels industry.

Members of the federal government say the mine will actually be good for climate change, because it will supply India with cleaner-burning Australian coal.

"Our coal, Australian coal, displaces the use of Indian coal and that is a positive for the world," Nationals Senator Matt Canavan told ABC radio.

He said the thermal coal industry was not dead and that demand this century had increased by 60 per cent.

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