The federal government warns thousands of desperately-needed jobs in north Queensland are at risk after Indian mining giant Adani deferred a final investment decision on its controversial Carmichael coal mine.
The company’s decision followed factional wrangling inside the Queensland government that delayed a cabinet discussion over royalty payments.
“It’s a remarkable and embarrassing situation for Queensland that they don’t even have a tax regime in place,” federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan told ABC radio on Tuesday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, a member of Labor’s Right faction, said the measure hadn’t been put to a cabinet meeting on Monday as expected.
Senator Canavan described the 11th-hour decision as “unbelievable” and a “shocking condemnation of the chaos that exists inside the Palaszcsuk government”.
It was putting at risk thousands of “desperately-needed” jobs in north Queensland, especially in Townsville where the unemployment rate was 11.3 per cent.
“People there are just exasperated,” Senator Canavan said.
Adani’s decision appears to be an attempt to increase the pressure on the state government to follow through on a so-called “secret deal” to reduce the company’s royalties in the first seven years of the mine’s operation.
Under the deal, Adani would reportedly only pay $2 million in royalties annually, which could end up costing taxpayers $320 million in lost income.
Senator Canavan rejected criticism Adani was being given a tax holiday, likening it to landlord incentives for first tenants of major commercial office space.