QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will exercise the state government’s veto of a federal loan for the Adani Carmichael mine, in the wake of rumours circulating about the role of her partner in the process.
Calling a snap press conference on Friday afternoon, Ms Palaszczuk accused the LNP in Canberra for a “smear” campaign against her and her partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers infrastructure advisory director Shaun Drabsch.
The apparent smear campaign related to a rumour circulating among LNP senators about Mr Drabsch’s work, Ms Palaszczuk said.
PWC acted for Adani on its application to the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
Ms Palaszczuk said her partner assisted PWC’s work as a member of its national infrastructure advisory team, only at a federal level, and that was after the mining leases were approved.
The Premier said Mr Drabsch took the role, PWC’s managing partner Brisbane wrote to her to assure her they would avoid conflicts of interest in Mr Drabsch’s role and her role as premier.
“Let me make it absolutely clear – I guard my integrity most dearly,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I want to put beyond any doubt that this is nothing more than an LNP smear.”
Ms Palaszczuk said her government had no role to date in the federal government’s NAIF loan assessment process for Adani and would now have no role in the future.
To action her decision, she said she would write to Mr Turnbull to notify him that her government would exercise its “veto” to not support the NAIF loan and “remove doubt about any perception of conflict”.
“As we are in caretaker mode, a decision like this requires the support of the Opposition Leader (Tim Nicholls),” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I will be asking Mr Nicholls to endorse my decision.”
The move will not necessarily stop a NAIF loan to the Adani mine, as it could be granted via a different process, but it removes the state government's involvement
Ms Palaszczuk said Adani representatives had been on the public record numerous times indicating they did not need NAIF to proceed with the project.
“I want to stress that the NAIF is a federal government initiative, we are not the decision-makers, it’s the federal government,” she said.
Adani has not yet been informed, as Ms Palaszczuk informed the media.
Ms Palaszczuk has been dogged by anti-Adani protesters at the start of her re-election campaign, and the announcement will likely we welcomed by the groups.