By Michael Griffin
Adani’s much repeated claim that 10,000 jobs will be generated by its Carmichael coal mining project in Queensland has been contradicted in that State’s Land Court by its own expert, Jerome Fahrer, in sworn evidence. Consequently, the dishonest, false and misleading claim for 10,000 jobs, still being absurdly repeated by many politicians, such as the LNP’s George Christensen, in order to win public consent for the mine project, is completely discredited. The claim for jobs created by the Adani mine project has now been revised down to 1,464 direct and indirect ‘equivalent full-time work years’ over the entire 25 or 60 year lifespan of the mine.
In my previous AIMN article, published on 31 May 2017 and entitled The ‘odious’ Adani coal mine, I showed that by unpacking the term ‘equivalent full-time work years’ in order to explain what this term actually meant, only between approximately 25 and 58 ongoing jobs would be created over the entire lifespan of the mine not 1,464 full-time on going jobs for everyday of the life of the mine as Fahrer’s statement is now being interpreted. In that article I quoted Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakara, who formerly ran a mining company in Zambia that had pleaded guilty to serious environmental harm, when he said in Global Mining Newsletter edition 4 April 2016 that ‘… everything will be automated from mine to pit. In our eyes, this will be the mine of the future’. I included that quote to explain how such a limited amount of job creation can come about and showed that, as the mine will be fully automated, it will require only minimal inputs of human labour.
Townsville Council Sackings to Pay for Adani’s Airport
However, recent announcements by, and related to, Adani and its mine have now put even the downwardly revised job number in doubt. On 31 October 2017 it was revealed that Townsville and Cairns City Councils had not only agreed to jointly fund the airport for the mine at a staggering $18.5 million and $15 million respectively, but that the Townsville Council had also sacked 140 council workers in order to pay its share of the cost of the airport’s construction. My guess is that the loss of those 140 council jobs has not been included in the ‘direct and indirect jobs’ that the mine will allegedly create. If it wasn’t, then it should be and the new revised job number should be revised further downward to 1,324 jobs or ‘equivalent full-time work years’ (i.e.1,464 minus 140).
Of course, if the 140 job losses from Townsville Council are offset against the job numbers I estimate in my previous article then the direct and indirect jobs ‘created’ by the mine would already be in the negative. That is, jobs losses would outweigh the jobs created for the mine by between approximately 80 and 120 jobs – depending on the actual life span of the mine.
CHAFTA: Foreign Workers at the Mine
But this not the end of Adani’s miraculous job ‘creation’ story. On 2 November 2017 it was widely reported in various media that Adani had all but secured funding for the mine project from China Machinery Engineering Corporation (‘CMEC’), a Chinese Government owned company that was interested in participating in the project as a joint investor and co-owner of the project on conditions that it would receive some equity in the project, be awarded the contract for the construction and management of the mine and of the railway line and also on condition that it would receive a management contract from Adani for an Adani coal importing business in China.
If this occurs, this would mean that not only would Australians be subsidising a Chinese communist party controlled corporation and an Indian billionaire in their enterprises, but as the builder of the mine and of the railway, CMEC would, under the Chinese Australia Free Trade Agreement (‘ChAFTA’) entered into by the LNP government with the Chinese Government in December 2015, be able to take advantage of Article 10.4.3 and of the Memorandum of Understanding on Work Visa as an accompanying document to ChAFTA and bring in up to 5000 Chinese workers for the purpose of constructing the mine, port and railway infra-structure for the mine. Not that they would need 5000 workers.
Article 10.4.3 ChAFTA says that neither side shall:
… impose or maintain any limitations on the total number of visas to be granted to natural persons of the other Party; or require labour market testing, economic needs testing or other procedures of similar effect as a condition for temporary entry.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Work Visa of ChAFTA states:
Australia will grant annually, according to its laws and procedures, up to 5,000 multiple entry “Work and Holiday” visas or authorisations for temporary stay for a period of twelve (12) calendar months to nationals of the People’s Republic of China …
If CMFE activates and relies upon these provisions, as is most likely the case, then no Australian will be employed at the Carmichael mine site at all and, most likely, only a handful of Chinese workers will be.
Something ‘Very Smelly’
On the ABC TV’s Q & A programme on Monday 30 October 2017, conservative radio commentator Allan Jones expressed bewilderment at how any government could consider supporting, let alone funding, a project that promises to wreak havoc upon the priceless and irreplaceable Great Barrier Reef, upon the Australian and global environment, at a cost up to 70,000 Reef related tourist jobs and at the cost of the loss of prime agricultural land. Jones went so far as to say:
There’s something very smelly about this that the Federal Liberal Government, the Federal Labor Opposition, the Queensland Labor Government and the Queensland Liberal Opposition all have got their hands up saying they’re going to support this entity.
Here are these companies tipping in money to the major political parties… There has to be something on here. There’s got to be people knocking on people’s doors with money saying, ‘please vote for us. Please support all of this’. They’re throwing any amount of money at getting approval.
Jones’ strong statements imply that he suspects corruption and conspiracy is involved in the various Government decisions made in support of the Adani project. Regardless of one’s opinion of Jones, in this instance one suspects he may be right. Adani is known for bribery and corruption wherever it goes. An ABC report on 22 December 2016 stated this:
According to a 2011 report by the ombudsman of the Indian State of Karnataka, obtained by the ABC, police seized documents from Adani Enterprises in raids “which indicate that money has been regularly paid to port authorities, customs authorities, police department, mines and geology and even to MLAs/MPs.
There is no reason to believe it would have changed its tactics and attitudes for this project.
It is now well known that Adani will hold its stakes in, and its entitlement to dividends and profits from, the mine, its stakes in the Abbot Point port and in the connecting railway line within a complex network of Cayman Island family trusts and family companies and, thereby, will avoid paying tax in Australia or, at least, significantly reduce its tax liability in Australia. This is on top of the $600 million in deductions, subsidies, unlimited water permits, fee remissions and royalty holidays Adani will now obtain from the Queensland government and on top of any low interest loan it may obtain from the Australian Government.
Noticeably, Adani’s Cayman Island companies are the same types of Cayman companies in which Malcolm Turnbull himself also has interests. It is also well known that Malcolm Turnbull donated and loaned an amount of $1.75 million to the Liberal Party in September 2016 just a few months after he had an extended four hour meeting with Adani owner Gautam Adani on 4 December 2015. Given the proximity of these events, one could be forgiven for concluding that they are curiously related in the same way Turnbull’s meeting at the Lodge with Rupert Murdoch and the subsequent gift of $30 million of public money to Murdoch were also approximate in time and related. Hence, it is open to conclude from these facts that Adani made a loan to Turnbull through a Cayman Island company and that Turnbull then relent that amount on to the Liberal Party as his $1.75 million ‘donation’.
Perhaps this is the ‘very smelly’ thing that Alan Jones intuited about in the ABC’s Q & A program.
Whichever way you look at it, no Australian comes out a winner from the Adani project. The only Australian ‘job’ perceivably arising from the Adani mine is the ‘con-job’ Adani and those insidious, treacherous and inept politicians who support it are committing against the Australian people.
© Michael Griffin