Local Mackay enviro group says Adani funding Isaac Council puts natural environment at risk

Mackay, Queensland. Mackay Conservation Group, whose work straddles the Isaac Regional Council area, is disturbed by news that Adani will provide up to $1.15 million to employ four staff on Council, saying this has already created public perception of a conflict of interest about management of the local environment (ABC, “Adani to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael mine activities” today).

“There’s an old maxim that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Adani funding four senior positions on Council could colour the judgement of those officers,” said Mackay Conservation Group community organiser Maggie McKeown.

“Anti-corruption experts identify this arrangement as worrying and unprecedented.

“There should be an arm’s length method of funding those positions through the Queensland government otherwise there will always be public questions about the legitimacy of the decisions those officers make.

“Adani is now in the box seat to influence the decisions of Council, including how our natural environment is managed, how ratepayers’ money is spent and how its mine project is regulated.

“The public rightly expects that local governments to be even-handed, not to act in the interest of a billionaire overseas miner desperate to get their coal project up and running.

“The regulation of Adani’s project and its impacts should be impartial and top notch. Isaac Regional Council should be doing everything it can to guard against regulatory capture.

“There’s clear evidence for concern that Adani, which has a shocking record for damaging the natural environment overseas, will do the same thing in Queensland.

“Pollution of precious wetlands adjacent to Adani's main coal export port at Abbot Point is already proof the company can't be trusted to do business here.

“Adani’s mine risks billions of litres of Queensland’s extremely limited water, threatens endangered flora and fauna and burning its coal will worsen climate change which is killing our Reef.

“The proper thing for Isaac Regional Council to do is to keep Adani at arm’s length”, Ms McKeown said.