Apr 12, 2017

Will Turnbull pander to Adani with a $900m loan?

The Turnbull government appears set to expand its rampant protectionism by handing nearly a billion dollars to Adani, while urban infrastructure projects with much greater benefits go begging.

Bernard Keane ā€” Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Even as Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers warn against the rising tide of protectionism, his government is rapidly becoming the most protectionist since the Fraser era, with the way being prepared to hand a $900 million concessional loan to the corrupt, tax-dodging Indian company Adani for its unviable Carmichael coal mine project.

The cheap loan to fund the rail line needed to connect the mine with port facilities would come from the government’s National Party boondoggle fund, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which lacks even the most basic accountability mechanisms and has minimal staff. There would be no assessment role for Infrastructure Australia, which is expressly designed to assess major infrastructure projects on a national and regional basis, and certainly no role for a body like the Productivity Commission.

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26 thoughts on “Will Turnbull pander to Adani with a $900m loan?

  1. klewso

    Why should we pander (our taxes)?
    Surely they’d have a lazy billion or so, themselves, socked away up some hollowed-out palm tree in The Caymans or similar “Rainy Day Bank”?
    …. Or are they too busy, hollowing out more “storage”?

  2. Mark Lucas

    not merely a bad business decision, but a crime against humanity #turdball #stopadani #waterislife

  3. Wayne Robinson

    I glanced at the front page of the Australian this morning in the supermarket with its usual partisan attack on Bill Shorten for opposing the Carmichael mine (I hope it’s true).

    I don’t think it’s a negative for Bill Shorten. I think it’s very much a positive. I used to sort of like Malcolm Turnbull a long time ago. He’s been an enormous disappointment.

    As an old white male, the only thing nowadays that will change my vote is the environment. Everything else is just politics.

    1. John Newton

      Spot on. Turnbull is catering to the minority of climate change loons like Bernardi Abbott and the unspeakably awful and ridiculous Malcolm Roberts. Is it good politics to turn your back on not just the planet but the vast bulk of the Australian politician?

      Maybe in some universe.

  4. zut alors

    It makes no sense to further endanger the Great Barrier Reef and kill off the 60,000 associated tourism jobs for the prospect of 1500 Adani jobs.

    So why is our government even considering such lunacy? Note to Trumble: it is not possible to purchase a replacement reef, money cannot buy everything.

    1. Wayne Cusick

      Oh, but Malcolm claims “tens of thousands of jobs”.

      If that is truly the case then Adani surely wouldn’t mind guaranteeing that number of jobs for the life of the project in return for the loan.

      1. klewso

        Malcolm’s hobby is to turn bull into ‘facts’.

      2. Marion Wilson

        Tens of thousands of jobs is a lie, not an error just a bare-faced lie. What are our politicians thinking of? That it is appropriate to obtain whatever it is they want by deceit? John Howard told us that we were invading Iraq because of their weapons of mass destruction – a bare faced lie that has cost the world thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Turnbull is justifying environmental devastation with false claims of benefit to the unemployed. This has to stop. Powerful people must be severely punished for lying.

  5. Draco Houston

    It’d be cheaper if those Townsville households didn’t get charged any taxes. That napkin math shows that a good chunk of their income tax is going to pay for an expensive project that will only result in Adani paying no taxes when they have to write it down. Townsville paid taxes so Adani doesn’t have to.

    This is a good example of how the Commonwealth of Australia and her colonial states are not yours, it belongs to the rich and powerful, who are all on welfare and live a life of no labour.

    I found an idea we could try from France, looks promising

    1. Duncan Gilbey

      The guillotine is a bit harsh, but there should be a set of stocks within 200m (easy dragging distance) of every parliament in the land…

      1. Zarathrusta

        No, the reason they used the Guillotine was to prevent them coming back into politics and causing more trouble. You can see from Pauline Hanson the trouble with returning politicians.

  6. graybul

    The Prime Minister’s underwriting of the Adani equivalent of last century cotton mills, along with the inevitable early replacement of his third world NBN; guarantees a lasting legacy only an entrepreneurial ex banker expending his clients monies, could hope for.

    Not only will the PM cough up $1billion of we serfs monies, that could and should be spent on ‘essential’ national infrastructure associated with mining abundant limestone from a dead Great Barrier Reef; he would be exulted as a visionary who foresaw importance of reducing Australia’s carbon footprint in saving the countries most precious asset . . . the Great Artesian Basin?

    1. outside left

      Doesn’t this proposed rail line suite Gina also?

      1. klewso

        Another mega donor to the Coal-ition.

  7. John Homan

    What has not been mentioned is that the Adani venture has not been able to attract the investment by banks that it needs. The financial institutions are very wary when they consider the trends: world wide demand for coal, and with it prices is stedily falling. Investment in renewables is exploding. The development of energy storage for when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow is taking care of providing baseload power. All the indicators are that the Adani venture will be a ‘stranded asset’, and hence nobody will want to cough up themoney to be left with the debt (or clean up cost).
    Does Labor support Adani on the expectation that it will not go ahead, but they can say – hand on heart – it wasn’t us, and save votes in the central Qld area.
    Cynical? May be.

  8. Bob's Uncle

    The car industry example is a good one – the Goverment wasn’t willing to pay $500m a year to keep 50,000 jobs and an entire high-value manufacturing industry in Australia. They were, however, will to pay $500m a year to keep the car leasing industry and its several hundred accounting jobs in Australia.

    Let’s not pretend that job numbers have anything to do with these decisions – it is mainly ideological. With the car example, unionised manufacturing jobs were expendable. With car leasing it was important to protect white-collar high-income jobs (with the actual benefits of leasing tax breaks flowing to mainly high-income individuals as well).

    In the case of Adani, the decision is 100% be based on the Govenment’s ideological fixation on coal – references to jobs are simply for the purpose of public justification. It is a shame to see Labor too scared to stand up to this – assumably because they don’t want to appear weak in the face of a “jobs and growth” attack fromt the Coalition.

    1. Draco Houston

      They don’t stand up to this because QLD Labor is all for the project.

      1. klewso

        They’ll be in Opposition soon enough.

  9. K

    Don’t forget also that if NAIF lends $900m to Adani at a concessional interest rate of say 5%pa (compared to market rates for a project of this risk profile of say 10%pa), that interest bill of $45m annually immediately becomes a tax deduction for Adani. At the 30% corporate tax rate, that means that the Commonwealth is effectively subsidising the interest payments to NAIF by $11.5m annually through reduced tax (assuming the mine ever generates any taxable profits in Australia, rather than in Bermuda or the Caymans or wherever else Adani’s ultimate parent company is sheltered).

    But then again, I suppose that is still better than Adani borrowing the money from its tax-haven parent at 12%pa and claiming $108m in interest tax deductions annually – following the Chevron model …

  10. Carbon Footprint

    How the late great John Clarke would have taken Turnbull apart on this one.

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