Transcript - The Project, Channel Ten

Subjects: Adani Carmichael Mine


Matt Canavan is the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. We spoke to him earlier. Thank you for your time. Why are we paying for any of this, much less $1 billion, when Adani can afford it themselves?


Well Waleed, Governments do invest in infrastructure to create jobs, they do it all the time. I'm standing here in the middle of the Bowen Basin here in Queensland, all of the rail lines and ports in the Bowen Basin for coal mines were built by Governments, years ago. But that created massive wealth for our country. It's our second biggest export, coal, it creates thousands of jobs. We need to invest in industries like the coal sector to create jobs, make money, and pay for all the public services we love here in Australia.


Matt I'm a little confused. We heard today this project will create 10,000 jobs. I think it is unfortunate to throw around tens of thousands, you can't prove that up. In fact there was a court case that said it could be as few as 1,400. Can you not be more specific?


So that court case was about the mine. So the mine will create about 1,400 jobs. Of course, the mine is not a project in and of its own, there is a rail line and a port associated with it. Altogether that project is about 3,400 jobs in the first stage. And then there will be subsequent stages. And of course the industry will spur other development and services in our region.


So when you say tens of thousands of jobs, can we just be clear – that is speculative, that is you saying maybe if more projects come on line, if more people are attracted to this because we’ve built a rail line, but you don't have modelling to demonstrate that, any commitment from anyone?


Sorry Waleed, there is modelling. So when the project received its environmental approvals from both State and Federal Governments, which it’s got – they modelled the economic impact of this project. That’s where the 1,400 jobs figure comes from for the mine, that’s where the 3,400 jobs figure comes from for the first stage. That has been all modelled. Now of course subsequent mines that might come on line they have not been modelled at this stage, they have not been approved. But no doubt there will be thousands of jobs from those as well.


No doubt there will be thousands? It sounds like there is a bit of doubt. If you're saying tens of thousands of jobs, but that relies on the bit that’s not modelled, you're actually asking for a bit of faith here.


If we invest in mines Waleed, they have a proven record of producing jobs.


Now today photos appeared of coal contamination at Adani’s Abbott Point terminal. Should we be concerned?


Look those images have already been debunked. They've been debunked on a couple of levels. The first, the relevant regulator here, the Queensland Department of Environment has already assessed that Adani on their investigation of it has been within the limits of the release of water that they were allowed. The level of sediment there at the Caley Valley wetlands you refer to is about a tenth of the sediment levels that exist here around Rocky at the Fitzroy River mouth at the moment. It's really important to point out too that those wetlands people speak about are man-made. And yes, the project tries to protect those wetlands, but let's get real here. These are not Ramsar listed wetlands. They are a man-made swamp to attract ducks. And that’s great, but I want to protect jobs as well. I want to see investment in Northern Australia. And that’s why we’ve got to get behind projects that can do that.


Minister, thank you very much for joining us tonight.


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