Placard-bearing members of Tenterfield Climate Action Network (TCAN) gathered around an effigy of Barnaby Joyce in bed outside the MP’s Tenterfield office on Monday, to air their concerns over environmental and economic damage in the pursuit of cementing ties with India-based Adani.
TCAN spokesperson David Townes said the group’s goal was to draw Mr Joyce's attention to the requests of New Englanders for him to not ‘get into bed’ with coal billionaires. The group is also wary of perceived Liberal/National Party plans to potentially fund North Queensland’s Adani coal mining venture via the little-known Export Finance and Investment Corporation (EFIC).
“No global financial institution will fund the destructive Adani coal mining venture in Queensland’s Galilee Basin,” Mr Townes said.
“Seventy-five per cent of Australians and so New Englanders are clear that we prefer taxpayer funds to be directed to renewable energy instead of infrastructure for coal companies.
“And yet Mr Joyce chooses to remain cemented to an archaic fossil fuel ideology rather than support the requests of his constituents. Why?
“Mr Joyce should be giving consideration to the catastrophic outcomes of fossil fuel induced climate change rather than the wants of coal barons and patrons.”
TCAN is concerned that moves by trade minister Steven Ciobo to change EFIC access rules will open the door to potentially fund the Adani project, either directly or via funding to Adani sub contractors.
“For Adani then, EFIC becomes the bank you have when you don't have a bank,” Mr Townes said.
“We will not stand by and allow politicians of any persuasion to destroy the environmental futures of our children on the altar of short term political ego and major donor influence.”
Monday’s protesters also cited concerns about damage to North Queensland’s tourism industry from increased shipping through the Barrier Reef should the project proceed, and challenged the exporting of coal to India on humanitarian grounds, saying solar and wind power generators would be cheaper and have fewer health impacts.