No contradiction on Adani: Shorten


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 mining company 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.

Bill Shorten has declared he does not support Adani's new coal mine, but a Labor government won't tear up its approvals because it could scare off investors.

Hanson: People want the mine.
Hanson: People want the mine.

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."

True position

Queensland LNP opposition has seized on the comments, saying Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must reveal her true position on the mine.

"We need to know whether the premier is going to come clean and tell us does she support Bill Shorten or jobs in Queensland," leader Deb Frecklington told ABC radio on Tuesday.

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 also claims Mr Shorten is 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, while also keeping unions onside.

Mr Shorten on Monday said he'd long been sceptical about whether Adani could raise the money it needs.

"No Australian bank will invest in it, no Australian super fund will invest in it," he said, adding Labor wasn't about to put sole trust in Adani to create jobs in regional Queensland.

Whitsundays mayor Andrew Willcox says Mr Shorten needs to visit the north and talk to the people desperate for Adani's jobs.

Stop Adani protesters hand out leaflets and sing protest songs along High Street, Northcote, Melbourne, Saturday, March 3, 2018.
Stop Adani protesters hand out leaflets and sing protest songs along High Street, Northcote, Melbourne, Saturday, March 3, 2018.

But Queensland Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm says there's growing concern among other mayors, including Townsville's Jenny Hill and Rockhampton's Margaret Strelow.

"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.

The state opposition will use question time on Tuesday to hammer the Queensland premier on the issue.

Last week, Ms Palaszczuk deflected questions about Adani to spruiking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

"Money talks, and the money is talking by investing in renewables," the premier, who has set a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, said.

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