05 January 2017

Minister should stop spruiking dirty coal, start securing clean jobs in Queensland

Future growth is overwhelmingly in renewables, not coal.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan should stop patronising Indians by telling them they need Australian coal to lead ‘prosperous lives’, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

Minister Canavan told The Australian newspaper, “We cannot deny them (Indians) the same resource we use to lead our relatively rich and prosperous lives.”

“Future global investment and jobs growth is overwhelmingly in renewables, not coal,” said ACF campaigner Gavan McFadzean.

“India’s Energy Minister Piyush Goyal has repeatedly said he wants to cut India’s coal imports to zero and in October he urged Indian electricity companies to stop buying coal from overseas.

“It is cheaper for local communities in India to install solar than connect to transmission grids. Meanwhile, air pollution is leading to the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Indian cities.

“It is ludicrous for an Australian government minister to tell Indians they need Australian coal to help alleviate poverty while the company he wants to dig and ship the coal – Adani – is under investigation in India for artificially inflating power prices.”

Research released by ACF in December shows credible policies on climate change and energy would generate an additional 90,700 jobs across Queensland by 2030. Most of these new jobs are in key infrastructure areas like energy, water, construction and health and many would be in regional Queensland.

The International Energy Agency forecast that Minister Canavan cites to support his claim that coal has a future also says, “A tapering of India’s imports would make the economics of remote (Australian) projects that require infrastructure development increasingly questionable.”

“If Mr Canavan genuinely cares about jobs and a healthy future he would stop trying to sell last century’s dirty energy to India and start securing the 70,000 jobs that depend on a healthy Great Barrier Reef and the tens of thousands of new jobs that flow from clean energy policies,” Mr McFadzean said.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may call Peter Stahel on 0408 584 439 or email peter.stahel@essentialmedia.com.au. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.