Indian mining giant Adani has won approval to build a rail line to one of the world’s biggest coal ports near the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland’s coordinator-general on Thursday ticked off on plans for a 300km rail line linking the Carmichael Galilee Basin mine to the Abbot Point terminal.
Liberal National Party MP Vaughan Johnson, the government’s chief whip, has previously raised concerns about the route dividing rural properties in central and north Queensland.
He met with Premier Campbell Newman in July to discuss the concerns of landholders.
The premier said Mr Johnson was “quite rightly” acting as the voice of his constituents.
“We’ll do our best to mitigate those impacts,” Mr Newman told reporters on Thursday, adding Queenslanders should be first in line for new Adani jobs.
But the left-leaning Australia Institute think tank said the Carmichael project could put downward pressure on global coal prices and cost jobs at other projects in the Surat and Bowen basins.
Researcher Mark Ogge said the approval was bad news for anyone who was “a farmer, tourist operator, manufacturer or coal miner other than in the Galilee Basin”.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche accused anti-coal groups of stifling progress in the untapped Galilee Basin.
“(It) not only delays the supply of electricity to the developing world but also economic benefits to Queensland,” Mr Roche said.
Some 100 million tonnes of coal will pass along the railway every year.
Mr Newman said the $2.2 billion project would fund schools, hospitals and roads and create 2400 jobs during construction.
“It’s a project that will be giving back to this state for at least 50 to 60 years,” he said.
Federal approval for the railway line is due by the end of September.