Indian energy giant Adani has postponed its final investment decision on the massive Carmichael coal mine and rail development, with Queensland Labor reportedly divided over the potential of a $320 million royalty break for the controversial project.
A split has reportedly emerged between Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor’s left faction, led by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, over the deal which would see Adani pay just $2 million per annum in royalties for the first five years of Carmichael’s operation.
The news follows Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten’s opposition to a $1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, which Adani chairman Guatam Adani reportedly pushed for in a personal meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month.
Palaszczuk is keen for the project to get the go-ahead, saying it will create roughly 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. The royalties deal, designed as a final incentive to get Adani over the line and make an investment decision, was due to be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
But Trad publicly criticised the deal prior to that meeting, saying there would be no “royalties holiday” for the miner.
Adani announced it would not make a decision on Carmichael until the royalties issue was settled.
It all made for an interesting time in Queensland Parliament on Tuesday, when Opposition leader Tim Nicholls eagerly described the Labor rift.
“A toxic brew of self-interest and division, concocted by the Deputy Premier and her kitchen cabinet of the loony left, is conspiring to kill off the Adani Carmichael mine,” Nicholls told Parliament.
Fellow Opposition MP Jarrod Bleijie called for Palaszczuk to sack Trad over the split.
“Can the premier tell the House why she is putting the Member for South Brisbane’s job ahead of thousands of regional Queenslanders?” he asked.