Carmichael Mine could be delayed up to five years
THE Carmichael coal project could be delayed by up to five years after the State Labor Government demanded Adani count the precise number of black-throated finches living on the property.
The requirement, which must be completed before construction can begin, is one of a host of new conditions ordered by the Department of Environment that Adani insists departs from its original environmental authority.
The extraordinary intervention by the State Government to delay the central Queensland mine has created a new flashpoint in the federal election.
Labor insiders said yesterday federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's camp was livid, while regional figures said the party had abandoned campaigns to win marginal Coalition electorates in regional Queensland in favour of city seats.
"Shorten is ropeable," one figure said.
"Just when we were getting traction with our working conditions, casual pay message...
"Someone needs to tell them you can't win state government without the regions."
The department has detailed more than 30 amendments to Adani's black-throated-finch management plan, based on a controversial report by Melbourne university academic Brendan Wintle.
They include a requirement for the ecologists employed to monitor the finch to have postdoctoral qualifications and for cattle grazing within a reserved conservation area to be limited to one animal per 50ha.
The original environmental authority, based on the Queensland Co-ordinator General's approval conditions of 2014, required ongoing research of the finch.
However Adani chief executive Lucas Dow yesterday insisted the new requirements to complete research prior to construction could take five years.
"That's how we understand it," Mr Dow told The Courier-Mail.
"It looks like it is a cut-and-paste job from the Wintle report."
Mr Dow yesterday wrote to the State Government to ask for a complete list of issues and to commit to a specific time frame for the management plan.
"Our grave concern is that we address their issues here and then we get another shopping list," he said.
Mr Dow said there was no doubt other resource proponents would now be fearful about investing in Queensland.
"They are empathetic and very fearful that they will have the same practices dished up to them that we have been subjected to by the Palaszczuk Government," he said.
However, Mr Dow said Adani was determined to get the project approved and create jobs.
"We have got conviction to see this through," he said.