JOHN MENADUE. Jobs at Adani or on the Great Barrier Reef.

There are very strong grounds for Australia to phase out the mining of steaming coal as soon as possible and certainly not to promote new coal projects such as Adani. Our planet is increasingly at risk.  Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is likely to save and promote more jobs than the few jobs in prospect at Adani.  Tourism is a growth industry of the future. Coal mining is a declining and dying industry. 

Adani will not provide the ‘thousands’ or ‘ten thousand’ jobs repeatedly claimed by Adani and its short-sighted backers.  Its consultant, Jerome Fahrer, is reported to have told the Queensland Land Court that the mine would create only 1,464 full time equivalent jobs.

Compare that with the loss there could be to jobs that rely on the Great Barrier Reef  which is now threatened with severe bleaching. We learned from the ABS Labour Force Survey Data for 2016/17 that 37,000 people were employed in tourism in the reef regions alone and far more across the whole state.  By contrast coal mining, a very capital intensive industry and the least job-intensive industry there is, employed around 28,000 in the whole of Queensland.

Polling for the Australia Institute in 2016 showed that if severe coral bleaching continued in the GBR tourism areas, there was the risk of losing over one million visitors per year and over 10,000 tourist jobs.  Compare that with what Adani offers!

When we look at the growing employment in renewables, we see the same story.  The ABS told us that in 2016/17, Queensland and NSW both increased the numbers employed in the renewables sector by more than 1,000 full time equivalent jobs in each state – large scale solar in Queensland and wind farms in NSW.  Since then employment in the renewables sector has increased dramatically.

As Ross Garnaut has pointed out, Australia could be the world’s ‘renewal energy superpower’ because of the abundance of its resources – sun and wind.  According to the Clean Energy Council the number of renewable energy projects underway or completed was $26 billion in 2018.  This was double the previous year’s record.

Whatever way we slice it, employment at Adani is relatively insignificant compared with the possible losses of tourism on the Great Barrier Reef and the accelerating growth of jobs in renewables in Queensland.

On environmental and employment grounds Adani should not go ahead.

Naturally, coal miners in the Galilee Basin and elsewhere are concerned.  It is therefore important that, in the decline of fossil fuels, workers in the coal mining industry, together with their families, must be generously assisted in relocation and re-employment.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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4 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. Jobs at Adani or on the Great Barrier Reef.

  1. Jon Brodie says:

    My real issue with the Greens at the moment is that they seem to be anti all coal. We can’t live without coking coal at present as the only currently economical way to make steel. By appearing to be against all coal mining and export the Greens are unecessarily frightening large areas in NSW and Queensland where coking coal is mined, and should be continued to be mined and exported, unless there are other unacceptable local environmental and social issues. This is favoring the Coalition in seats needed to be won by Labor to change the government. Thus we seem to see the Greens perhaps causing the retention of the Morrison Government. Is this what they really want?

  2. Richard Barnes says:

    1464 full-time jobs was before the project was halved.

    As I write, there is a confrontation going on in Clermont (a small Galilee Basin town) between the Bob Brown Stop Adani Convoy and local people. In town, to stir things up, are Matt Canavan, Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts and Clive Palmer.
    I sympathise with the locals, who I imagine have no exposure to progressive ideas about ways in which tourism and renewable energy production could provide some genuine new employment in their area. But those opportunistic vultures stirring them up should rot in hell (where they will be by the time our kids are experiencing the hell on earth of the looming climate catastrophe)

  3. David Macilwain says:

    There is a striking coincidence today between the hostility expressed towards the arriving Stop Adani convoy by residents of Claremont, and the devastation caused by the unprecedented tropical cyclone hitting Mozambique, which the UN cites as unambiguously connected with climate change. Do the residents of Claremont really think that their jobs in coal mining are worth more than the lives and livelihoods of thousands or tens of thousands of people around the world terminated by “natural disasters”. I wait for someone in the media to ask the same question from Scott Morrison.

  4. Philip Bond says:

    Should anyone consider endorsing adani, they must have guarantees the company has financial backing to proceed and NEVER come seeking government handouts.

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