Councils caught up in allegations over Carmichael airport

Contributed from Queensland

The Adani controversy has thrown up another scandal. This time it involves allegations for new corruption and publicity that are engulfing to regional Queensland councils.

Townsville and Rockhampton Councils have put up more than $34 million, for the building of an airport hundreds of kilometres away, at the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

It is part of the funding deal made with the mining company. The given justification for this is that the airport will provide for thousands of jobs by making the two cities hubs for a fly in fly out (FIFO) workforce at the mine. Critics have long suggested that the project would create relatively few jobs, in an operation that will be highly capital intensive. Critics have also challenged the claim that the project will be a boon for the local economies.

And it has also now come to light that that the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission is looking into the matter for alleged “corrupt conduct”. It seems that the tendering process for a contractor has been somewhat less than proper.

A Toowoomba based company,  called Wagners, got the contract for the airport and this was not declared in the public list. Both had councils had said that the airport would be owned by the councils. But when Townsville businessman Philip Batty made the complaint before the Commission, the councils turned around and said that the land and  airport project were owned by Adani will not own the land and airport, which have been handed over to Adani.

The complaint was dismissed on this technicality. By not being the owners, the councils are not responsible for
contracting and the procurement process.

trhisd ruling does not mean that proper process was not followed, and it looks like there could be even more going on below the surface.

The Adani companies have a long history of corrupt practices in the countries in which they operate and there is a list of gifts and other inducements provided in Australia to decision makers. The affair over the airport certainly needs further investigation. So do Adani’s other activities. Corruption is a poison that needs to be weeded out.

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