Friday, 24 November 2017

A peek at how the political donations were running in Adani country during the 2017 Queensland state election campaign

The benefits of the Adani coal mine have been readily discussed and debated. Equally important but rarely discussed are the many electorates that stand to lose out from the development of the Galilee Basin. In some cases, the winners and losers share an electorate.

The mine that Adani plans to build in the Galilee Basin would be one of the largest export coal mines in the world. Its construction at a time of shrinking world demand for coal means that exports from Adani can cannibalise existing exports and potential growth from other coal regions – and, by extension, lead to fewer jobs or lower jobs growth in those regions. Forecasts by coal industry modellers Wood Mackenzie show that significant coal exports from the Galilee Basin would, by 2035, lead to a reduction in coal production of 30% in the Bowen Basin, 37% in the Surat Basin and 37% in the Hunter Valley.

The balance of which seats would benefit from Adani’s proposal and which would be negatively affected have not been properly considered. These effects will occur regardless of whether the Adani mine is subsidised; the additional cost to taxpayers of subsidising Adani is outside of the scope of this paper.

The decision by Adani to use Townsville and Rockhampton as its bases for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforces could advantage those cities – and the eight state electorates that they contain. Six of those electorates are marginal, and another has changed hands in both of the last two elections.

On the other hand, Mackay, Gladstone and Rockhampton are already major FIFO bases, and are strong FIFO candidates for future Bowen and Surat basin coal mines. If Galilee Basin development cannibalises Bowen and Surat development, these cities and their six state electorates – three of which are marginal – will suffer.

The electorates that contain the mines themselves are also likely to become a political issue. The proposed Galilee coal mines run across two or three electorates: Burdekin, Gregory and possibly Traeger. Of these, only Burdekin is marginal. In addition, Burdekin and Gregory also contain Bowen Basin coal projects threatened by Galilee development. Another electorate, Callide, contains Surat Basin mines at risk of cannibalisation by Galilee development.

Political donations during the 2017 Queensland state elections as of 24 November 2017:

Left click on images to enlarge

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