Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has backed the controversy-hit Adani’s coal mine venture, saying that the $16.5bn project was “vitally important” and “sabotaging” of such developmental plans using legal means was “dangerous” for the country.
“If the courts can be turned into a means of sabotaging projects which are striving to meet the highest environmental standards, then we have a real problem as a nation,” he said. “We can’t become a nation of naysayers; we have to remain a nation that gives people a fair go if they play by the rules,” Abbott added.
Abbott’s remarks came after a court this week revoked the environmental approval for the Adani project, which aims to build one of the world’s largest coal mine in Queensland, opposed by green groups and local residents.
In his strongest defence yet of coal production in Australia, Abbott stated that the overturning of the proposed Queensland Carmichael mega coal mine project means courts can be used to “sabotage” worthy projects. “As a country we must, in principle, favour projects like this,” he told The Australian newspaper.
Abbott said he is “frustrated” at the court’s decision and asserted that projects like Adani mine were too vital to be hindered by red tape. “If we get to the stage where the rules are such that projects like this can be endlessly frustrated, that’s dangerous for our country and tragic for the world.
“So we’ve got to get these projects right...but once they are fully complying with high environmental standards, let them go ahead. While it’s true that we want the highest environmental standards to apply to projects in Australia, and that people have a right to go to court, this is a $21-billion investment, it will create 10,000 jobs in Queensland and elsewhere in our country,” he added.
Abbott also said the mine would have a positive impact on India. “Let them go ahead for the workers of Australia and for the people of countries like India, who right at the moment have no electricity. Imagine what it’s like to live in the modern world with no electricity.”