As many as 90 widely known Australians on Thursday asked Adani Enterprises Limited to reconsider its decision to build a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. In a letter addressed to company chairperson Gautam Adani, they mentioned risks to miners’ health and adverse effects on the World Heritage site among their many objections.
The letter will be hand-delivered by businessman and environmentalist Geoffrey Cousins at the company’s headquarters in Gujarat on Thursday. Among the 90 signatories are cricketing legends Ian and Greg Chappell, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, investment banker Mark Burrows and musical band Midnight Oil. “We urge you to think about global warming and public health and listen to the wishes of the people,” reads the letter, according to AFP.
The signatories have also warned that if Adani goes ahead with the $16-billion (Rs 1.6 lakh crore approximately) project, it may hamper bilateral ties and sporting relations between India and Australia. “It would be a great shame if this one project were to damage the image of India in Australia,” said one of the signatories.
The construction of the proposed coal mine, rail and road project in Queensland is scheduled to start this year. Although Adani is yet to take a final call on the investment, the multinational conglomerate has always maintained that the project will not affect the reef.
Federal government MP George Christensen mocked the signatories as “elitist wankers” and accused them of trying to diminish job opportunities for Queenslanders. “I’d love for just one of them to explain to the locals why they think the jobs from the Carmichael Mine and Abbot Point coal port expansion should not be created,” he said, according to The Guardian. Both the federal and the Queensland state governments have given their go-ahead for the project.
Earlier, some major banks like Germany’s Deutsch Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia had refused to participate in the controversial coal project. Following this the Adani Group had approached the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility to finance the rail line that is part of the project.
On August 19 last year, the Australian Supreme Court had dismissed appeals lodged by indigenous community member Adrian Burrgubba as well as a Brisbane-based environmental group against the project. Burrgubba had argued that the National Native Title Tribunal was misled by the Adani Group about the economic benefits of their project.