The benefits of the Adani coal mine have been readily discussed and debated. Equally important but rarely discussed are the many electorates that stand to lose out from the development of the Galilee Basin. In some cases, the winners and losers share an electorate.
The mine that Adani plans to build in the Galilee Basin would be one of the largest export coal mines in the world. Its construction at a time of shrinking world demand for coal means that exports from Adani can cannibalise existing exports and potential growth from other coal regions – and, by extension, lead to fewer jobs or lower jobs growth in those regions. Forecasts by coal industry modellers Wood Mackenzie show that significant coal exports from the Galilee Basin would, by 2035, lead to a reduction in coal production of 30% in the Bowen Basin, 37% in the Surat Basin and 37% in the Hunter Valley.
The balance of which seats would benefit from Adani’s proposal and which would be negatively affected have not been properly considered. These effects will occur regardless of whether the Adani mine is subsidised; the additional cost to taxpayers of subsidising Adani is outside of the scope of this paper.