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Living Lightly column

Jobs and Growth – but for who?

By Olivia Noto, StopAdani Albury-Wodonga

With another election not far away and by-elections happening left, right and centre, one must wonder what tedious mantra the leaders of the nation will take any opportunity to repeat. Anyone’s trained pet bird would’ve surely echoed last election’s ‘jobs and growth’ catchphrase the Turnbull Government loved spinning like a broken record.

So – let’s discuss this idea of jobs and growth, shall we? Let’s assume that, according to the Coalition Government, any venture worth backing must create jobs for Australians, and contribute to the economy of the nation. That would make sense, wouldn’t it?

But when we apply this understanding to the proposed mega Adani Carmichael coal mine in north Queensland’s Galilee Basin, a different picture emerges.

Firstly, let’s have a squiz of just how many jobs would be created for Australians if this mine goes ahead. The answer seems to depend on who you ask.

Sussan Ley claimed 11,000 jobs during a speech in Parliament in February 2018, but despite repeated requests she has not substantiated this figure.

Adani’s expert witness in the Land Court claims only 1,464 jobs.

Meanwhile an article in The Guardian recently reported that “Developing new coalmines in the Galilee Basin would cost 12,500 jobs in existing coalmining regions and replace only two in three workers, modelling by the Australia Institute shows”.

Clear as coal? Right.

Moving on then. In terms of economic growth, guess how many dollars Australia will receive by allowing this international company to dig up our land, pollute our waterways, emit more dangerous climate pollution and potentially destroy farming land? A billion dollars? No, guess again. A million? Nup. How much, you ask? Let me tell you.

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

What’s more, guess how much money the government is asking Adani to pay for its use of our water, much of it to be sourced from ancient groundwater in the Artesian Basin? You guessed it. Zero. Zilch. None. We’re talking billions of litres of unlimited access to water. Compare this to your last water bill.

So why is this government so adamant to let Adani build this mine? And why is Labor not taking a firm stand against it?

Perhaps when the Coalition wanted jobs and growth, they were merely referring to their own jobs and pockets. My mistake.