TO: Chair and Board members of Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility
Dear Ms Warburton and colleagues
I am very concerned about the possibility of a decision to loan close to $1 billion for rail infrastructure for the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin. As a person of faith, I believe such a decision would be morally wrong.
Firstly, the project will not provide an overall public benefit. If the rail line were to go ahead, the Queensland Government’s own Environmental Impact Statement fails to identify any other use for the line, apart from transporting coal from the mine. If the mine itself were to go ahead, t will cause various forms of public harm. It will:
- Violate the rights of the Wangan and Jagalingou people to their cultural and spiritual connections to their ancestral lands
- Draw on billions of litres of precious groundwater when Australia is the driest continent on earth, water that could otherwise be available for agriculture
- Bring to global markets enormous volumes of coal, to be burned overseas and potentially exacerbate global warming as much as if it were burned here. By extracting and exporting coal, our society shares culpability for its harmful effects on the biosphere.
- Cause direct (through dredging and traffic) and indirect (through global warming) harm to the Great Barrier Reef, over which Australia should exercise careful stewardship. This would adversely impact on thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on tourism.
- Likely leave the Australian public with the burden of a stranded asset as the mine becomes unprofitable, loans that are not repaid and a huge scar on a formerly beautiful landscape.
Secondly, the loan is unlikely to be repaid. This is because of a general fall in coal prices, as well as Adani's worrying track record of unpaid debts, environmental destruction, corruption and human rights abuses. Various researchers have uncovered that Adani is facing multiple investigations for financial crimes and corruption.
Thirdly, a loan to the Carmichael project will likely cause reputational damage to the Federal and State Governments. As the international community accelerates its transition away from fossil fuels, a new massive thermal coal operation will be increasingly viewed as environmentally irresponsible.
Finally, the potential for job creation by the project has been vastly overstated, while the same money would in fact create many more jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Even now, current and planned renewable energy projects in Queensland are set to employ more people than expected will be employed by Adani, at a fraction of the cost of the mine.
NAIF is supposed to be independent, yet it is clear to all which outcome is desired by both the Queensland Labor and Federal Coalition Governments. Do not be pressured into making a decision in favour of the Carmichael rail line project, when the ethical and economic case against such a decision are so compelling.
Please support a decision to not approve funding for this immoral project. Our generation has a clear moral responsibility towards those who are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate disruption, and for coming generations who have no say over what they are inheriting.