Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt insists he is not downplaying the importance of the planned Carmichael coalmine, despite his comments that it isn’t the “be-all and end-all” for the state’s economy.
Mr Pitt said the government supports the development of the Galilee Basin, which would be unlocked by Indian giant Adani’s $16.5 billion project.
However, he told News Limited the belief that it would single-handedly rescue Queensland’s economy was dangerous.
“It shouldn’t be suggested in any way that I’m downplaying the importance,” Mr Pitt told ABC Radio on Thursday.
“If it does not happen – and there are a range of reasons why that may not happen – it shouldn’t be viewed as a kick in the guts for the state.”
The Federal Court recently set aside approvals for the coalmine when a legal loophole in the decision of federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt was discovered.
Mr Pitt’s comments were welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, which said Adani representatives had admitted in court to using inflated royalties figures.
“Fast-tracking and special treatment for this project won’t help the Queensland economy, will deliver very few jobs and it won’t help the (Great Barrier) Reef,” spokeswoman Gemma Plesman said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche applauded the treasurer’s confirmation of “constructive talks” with his federal counterpart regarding an associated 300-kilometre rail link to Abbot Point.
“The Galilee Basin needs a first-mover investor to enable this vital rail and port infrastructure to become a reality,” he said.
Mr Pitt admitted if the mine didn’t go ahead, it would be “not optimal”, but there were a range of other exploration options, including petroleum and gas, that could bolster the economy.