The Queensland Labor government’s secret royalties deal for Adani is set to deliver a more generous interest rate than the federal loan to the Indian giant that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk controversially vetoed.
Ms Palaszczuk who promised at the 2015 election not to do any secret deals with Adani is continuing to refuse to release the details of the government’s royalties holiday for the proposed Galilee Basin coalmine.
But sources close to the deal have confirmed the Queensland government has struck an agreement with Adani in which the interest rate charged on the delayed royalties is less than the 3-4 per cent that is expected to be charged on the federal Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan.
At the end of the first week of Ms Palaszczuk’s re-election campaign, she reneged on the government’s written support to facilitate a concessional federal NAIF loan of up to $1 billion for Adani to build a common-user rail line from the proposed Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point port.
“There are commercial-in-confidence arrangements that happen with companies right across the state. They are commercial in confidence, and I’m not going to breach commercial in confidence.”
It was also revealed that the state government was in negotiations with a central Queensland council to take over and upgrade several council roads to the mine, at a cost of up to $100m. On Wednesday, Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker a member of the ALP confirmed the council had voted in February to negotiate a deal for the state to take over the roads because the council could not afford to keep the infrastructure on its books.
Ms Palaszczuk initially said her decision was made because of a conflict of interest, due to her partner’s working on Adani’s application to the NAIF, but she has since said it reflected Labor’s 2015 election commitment that no taxpayer money would go to the Indian giant.
The Australian revealed yesterday that the secret deal would delay the payment of $360m in coal royalties for the first five years of the mine’s production with the deferred royalties to be paid back in full, at the generous interest rate.
The Labor leader yesterday dodged questions about the terms of the deal. “Because it’s commercial in confidence,” she said.
A source close to the royalties deal struck in May told The Australian the state government had made an agreement with Adani at the same time to fund the road upgrade.
During a heated press conference yesterday, the Premier dodged repeated questions about the deal and would not rule out using taxpayers’ money to improve the roads. But late yesterday, her office issued a statement saying it was a condition of the state Co-ordinator-General’s approval of the mine several years ago that Adani fund the roads.
However, several sources said the deal offered by Labor in May had superseded that element of the Co-ordinator General’s report.