Senate tells Australian government not to fund controversial coal mine

Reef defenders

Pressure is increasing on the Australian government to rule out government funding for what would become Australia’s largest coalmine. The newly elected Senate, where the government is outnumbered, has called on the right-of-centre government to rule out financing Adani's Carmichael coalmine along the Queensland coast, which would be a huge threat to the already severely damaged Great Barrier Reef. The mine plan is also opposed by traditional Aboriginal owners of the land involved.


The motion in the Senate by the opposition Greens also calls on government to rule out publicly funding any of the mine’s associated infrastructure, such as railway lines.


The government did not oppose the motion, so it was carried without a formal count on Thursday.


Senator Larissa Waters, a Queenslander and the Greens’ deputy leader and mining spokesperson, said: “Australia must not spend public money propping up a project that more than a dozen private banks have refused to finance, especially while this government is trying to cut $1 billion from clean energy.”


The Senate motion states:


"1. The Senate notes that:


a) Australia has committed at the Paris climate talks to keep global warming below 2 degrees, and to pursue efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

b) With only 1 degree of global warming so far, the Great Barrier Reef has already suffered the worst ever mass coral bleaching event.

c) Fourteen major international and domestic banks have ruled out providing finance to the Adani mine or associated infrastructure.

2. The Senate calls on the federal Government to rule out giving any public funding to the Adani coal mine or any associated infrastructure, including via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.", an online platform claiming to be “Australia’s best informed and most read web-site focusing on clean energy news and analysis, as well as climate policy” commented that Adani should bow out gracefully from the planned mine.


"Before construction can begin, Adani needs to undertake substantial engineering design work, hire contractors and secure billions of dollars in financing. There is no sign that this is happening. A long list of banks and other funding sources have announced they won’t finance the project, or have pulled out of announced and existing finance arrangements.


"The list includes the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (formerly a big lender to Adani), NAB, the Queensland Treasury and global banks, including Standard Chartered (another former big lender), Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, as well as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale.


“The US and Korean export-import banks and the State Bank of India have been touted as possible sources, but appear to have backed away."


The Australian Federal Court recently found government licensing of the mine plan to be legal, dismissing climate change concerns brought by a conservation group.


The Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, who have fought several court battles already, say they intend to continue the fight.