The Adani projects in Queensland have long been built atop a mountain of lies and indifference towards environmental and Indigenous concerns. One lie that really helps push the narrative in fossil fuels’ favour is the promise of job, jobs, and more jobs – seemingly the only metric Queenslanders care about. But they have been deceived, just as everyone is by the Coalition’s shallow promises.
The only upside – which still doesn’t justify it – to having the Adani mine going forward was the jobs that it promised to provide – local jobs. But very quickly it was realised that the truth was being distorted greatly to garner support for the mine. Not only was the number of jobs forecast optimistically high, many of them were only short-term, such as a lot of the construction work. In the long-term, much of the work would be automated, dropping the number of jobs beyond a few years to a small percentage of what was promised.
Now, $100M has been contracted to Martinus Rail, a NSW rail company. I can’t quite see how this would help Queensland jobs at all, but you might be forgiven for thinking “well at least they picked an Australian company”. You would be half wrong, however, because the timing of the contract being awarded to MR is questionable. Half the company, in the past week or so, was bought out by Malaysian interests, so even more of this wretched business can be considered un-Australian.
With Adani being an Indian company and MR now under split ownership, the chances of Queensland, or even Australian, workers being brought in is shrinking. It is more likely that many workers will be imported from these other countries, specifically because the labour will be cheaper, and they can extort them more than they could with local workers.
This whole situation is really quite dire. Indigenous people were just told that they are now trespassers on their own land, a win for Adani who has fought to keep protesters off “their” land. The land was never ceded but was stolen, and it isn’t the State’s to give away to an international mining giant against the wishes of the people.
We are in the midst of extensive and extended droughts, with water issues rising across the country. Despite this, we are apparently prepared to send insane amounts of water to Adani whilst further polluting nearby groundwater, destroying the Great Barrier Reef, and beyond that the planet as a whole.
The Labor State government is introducing laws designed to prevent and suppress peaceful protest. Our civil liberties, whether you support Adani or not, are surely worth more than a coalmine? Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Adrian Schrinner, recently accused Extinction Rebellion members of being “watermelons”, appearing Green on the outside but hiding the red of scary left-wing ideologies. That is understandable, given that socialism or anarchism would be a threat to his job – after all, jobs are for people like him, and self-preservation is more important than societal preservation. Worth noting of course that not all environmental activists are “watermelons” – some are just looking for a sustainable and liveable future, yeah?
I do have sympathy for those in Queensland who truly believe the mine is worth all of this struggle and ecological collapse. They were sold an idea that gave them hope and the promise of a future – that is a powerful thing these days. But they have all been deceived in one way or another, and it saddens me to see some so violently oppose any anti-Adani sentiments and being closed to any evidence that opposes the narrative they’ve been told.
So what we all need to do is ask Adani and the government one simple question that might speak the language of those that protests won’t convince: How many jobs? How many jobs will the mine and all associated infrastructure actually create? How many jobs will be long-term, sustainable jobs? How many jobs will actually be provided to local communities as opposed to foreign workers? And how much of the revenue will actually remain in the hands of Australians?
With each additional question, the number assuredly shrinks.
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