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May 8, 2021

Dancing Adani into oblivion

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Adani pop-up protest at The Channon on December 10, 2017. Photo Harsha Prabhu

Harsha Prabhu

Sunday’s Channon Market witnessed a pop up action to protest the Adani coal complex at Abbott’s Point in Queensland and in solidarity with all those on the frontline of the fight against Adani’s project.

Rainbow flags were unfurled and waved and grandmothers, mothers and babes and dance-crazy denizens flung themselves on the verdant green in front of the Rainbow Chai Tent, while the drums pounded out a message from the heart of the Rainbow Region: Stop Adani!

Adani’s mega coal mine, railhead and port threatens the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and promises to release megatons of pollution, further accelerating global warming and climate change.

The Reef is already under stress due to agricultural chemical runoff and shipping, resulting in severe coral bleaching and Adani’s plans – which include dredging 1.1 cubic metres of the sea bed – could spell the death of the Reef, an ecocide that will also deprive future generations from experiencing one of the natural wonders of the world.

Banks pull out

The Liberal-National Australian government and the Queensland Labor government support Adani’s project – for promising to provide jobs and building infrastructure –but the project is opposed by a wide cross-section of the Australian public, including environmentalists, members of the tourism industry and ordinary folk.

Pundits believe support for Adani cost the LNP more than a few seats in the recent Queensland state elections and, possibly, a shot at government.

Adani has also had considerable difficulty raising capital, with banks refusing to lend money to him on the back of a campaign by activists who targeted investors. The latest to pull out are the Chinese.

The newly elected Queensland Labor government has vetoed Adani’s promised $1 billion infrastructure loan.

Poor environmental record

Activists at the Channon Market action also mentioned Adani’s poor environmental record in India and his backing of the Hindu fundamentalist government of Narendra Modi. Adani stands accused of crony capitalist sweet deals with his mate, Modi and dodgy environmental and corporate practices. These include shoddy invoicing, opaque ownership structures and unpaid taxes, all malpractices that regulatory authorities in India seem reluctant to pursue.

Activists at the action said corporate fascism was behind the push to exploit the earth and its tentacles were everywhere.

But, from the fisherfolk protesting Adani’s polluting Mundra port and power station in Gujarat (scheduled to receive Adani’s Australian coal if his plans come to fruition) to the Wangan and Jagalingou, traditional owners of the land on which his Queensland mine will be built, the people are fighting back.

A coalition of 13 environmental groups have set up a Stop Adani alliance, supported by the advocacy outfit GetUp, together with a rolling roadshow of Australia-wide demonstrations and community protests. Local shire councils have been petitioned to become ‘Adani Free Zones’ by refusing to do any business with companies associated with Adani.

The Channon action was part of a string of events that have already seen arrests, including Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker at a blockade at the site of Adani’s rail project in Queensland.

A protest in Lismore on Monday at the office of Nationals MP Kevin Hogan delivered surveys of people opposed to the mine and a Christmas cake with this message: ‘All we want for Christmas is to stop Adani.’

Considering the low price of coal, the reluctance of corporate lenders, the criticisms of environmental experts, messages of protest from the likes of cricketing legends such as the Chappell brothers and acclaimed author Tim Winton – and the passionate objections of so many everyday Australians – Adani’s fossil fuel fantasy does seem dead in the water.

Drums and dizzy dancing, not coal calamity!


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