In response to weekend protests against his support of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine project in north Queensland, deputy prime minister and member for New England Barnaby Joyce said Australia’s ‘clean’ coal is the better option to meet energy requirements in the Asian region.
“Australia has some of the highest quality coal in the world. Any reduction in Australian coal exports is most likely to be filled by lower quality coal from other countries, with a net increase in overall global emissions.
“As energy demand increases, proposed projects such as Adani’s will help meet increasing energy needs in countries such as India and other developing regional economies. For these countries coal is still the most reliable, readily available and affordable energy source for base load electricity generation.”
The Australian coal industry and resources sector collectively provided 14 per cent of Australia’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth over the last decade. Ensuring that the industry continues to attract investment is vitally important if Australians are to continue to enjoy high living standards, according to Mr Joyce, who said the Carmichael project will create thousands of jobs in North Queensland.
“This region has been doing it especially tough in recent years, with unemployment rates of over 10 per cent in Townsville. Conditions in some smaller towns are even tougher.
“Investments of this nature are likely to provide royalties and company tax to state and federal governments, who in turn will be able to put more funding into essential services like schools, hospitals and emergency services.”
The government is reviewing its climate change policies this year to ensure it’s on track to achieve its 2030 target to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels, and believes that renewable energy will play an important role in Australia’s energy future.
“The government’s priority is to ensure an affordable and reliable energy system as we honour our international agreements, putting Australian jobs and consumers first,” Mr Joyce said.
“Renewable energy and the latest generation of clean coal technology must work together to deliver secure and affordable power while meeting our emission reduction commitments.”
As the world’s largest coal exporter, Mr Joyce said Australia has a vested interest in demonstrating that it can provide both lower emissions and reliable baseload power with clean coal-fired technology. He said next-generation ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants technology – when integrated with carbon capture and storage technology and high efficiency low emissions power plants – could potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90 per cent.
Mr Joyce said allegations of illegal dealings in Adani’s home base of India, raised by ABC’s Four Corners, have been answered by Adani and are a matter for the Indian government. Adani’s Carmichael project will operate in Australia under Australia’s robust environmental, mining, corporate and other laws.
“Adani has been operating in Australia for close to 10 years and the company has demonstrated to be a law-abiding and responsible Australian corporate citizen during this time,” he said.