Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

BUSINESSMEN SLAM MINE Leaders Speak out on Adani

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

BUSINESSMEN SLAM MINE Leaders Speak out on Adani

Article excerpt

Byline: Charis Chang

PUBLIC opposition to Adani's coal mine continues to build in this state election cycle as two prominent Australian business leaders come out against the project.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Myer, of the prominent Myer retailing family, and Intrepid Travel founder and chief executive officer Geoff Manchester, have both decided to speak out against the $16.5 billion project in Queensland's Galilee Basin.

The two men share similar concerns but were not aware of the other's views before going public.

"It's a stranded asset ... and the proponent (Gautam) Adani is basically doing a very good job at conning our politicians at all levels of government," Mr Myer said.

But the fact that governments were subsidising the project was also concerning, he said. Federal, state and local governments have all agreed to, or are considering, providing the project with financial assistance.

Mr Myer said the economics of the project did not stack up and the leading supporters of the project were politicians, not those in the business world.

"The whole line that this is good for Queensland jobs is farcical and delusional," Mr Myer said.

"It doesn't stack up economically and as time goes on the economics get even worse."

While the governments have continued to spruik the "10,000 jobs" that will be created, Adani's own expert has admitted the figure will be closer to 1400 once jobs lost in other areas are taken into consideration.

Mr Myer believes the 10,000 number is "mythical" and the real number will likely be even less than 1400 as many operations can now be automated.

These jobs could also come at the expense of others.

At risk is Australia's lucrative tourism industry, with many concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

"Tourism operators are very concerned about this because we've already seen some negative impact on the Great Barrier Reef from bleaching in the last couple of years," Intrepid CEO Geoff Manchester said.

"We've already had seen some local tourism operators impacted."

Intrepid runs tours around the world so Mr Manchester is not too worried about his own business but he said the reef was of huge importance to Australia.

"We are coming into an era of potential growth in Australia, Asian countries are becoming more wealthy and travelling in larger numbers," he said.

Mr Manchester said Asian tourists, especially those who lived in polluted cities, wanted to experience nature and animals they would not necessarily see in their home countries. This provided Australia with a significant opportunity to boost its economy.

"People are less interested in owning things and are becoming more interested in experiences," he said. …

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