MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland state premier on Wednesday called for India’s Adani Enterprises to sit down with the state regulator to work out a definitive timeline to obtain approvals for a controversial coal mine project in the state.
Premier Anna Palaszczuk said the community required certainty on the long-delayed Carmichael mine’s outlook, and was tired of waiting for approvals after environmental reviews that have stalled the project.
“I think everyone’s had a gutful of this, frankly,” said Palaszczuk, a member of the Labor Party. The Adani project was at the heart of campaigning for last weekend’s national election, which resulted in a shock win for the ruling Liberal-led coalition despite polls that said Labor would triumph.
“I want them (Adani) to sit down and work up a definite time frame on decisions around these reports,” Palaszczuk said. “And I want a timeline, hopefully agreed to by all of the parties, by Friday.”
The comments signal the potential for a thaw in Queensland’s process of granting approvals for the mine, which has been under development for almost a decade and has become a touchstone for climate change concerns.
Australian voters had been expected to hand a mandate to the Labor party to pursue ambitious targets for renewable energy and carbon emissions cuts while turning away from coal.
But Australia rejected the opposition’s plans, with voters in coastal Queensland towns that would benefit from the mine voting in droves with job prospects in mind.
Adani Mining Chief Executive Lucas Dow said that the miner expected a timeframe for future decisions within the next fortnight.
“Any timeframe for a decision on these outstanding management plans longer than the next two weeks is nothing more than another delaying tactic by the Queensland Labor government designed to delay thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders,” Dow said in a statement.
He had said at the weekend that the state government, which has repeatedly extended environmental reviews of Adani’s Carmichael mine, should learn from Labor’s defeat in Queensland, listen to its own voters and let the mine go ahead.
Reporting by Melanie Burton and Sonali Paul in MELBOURNE; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell