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Adani mine: Green groups slam it as backers spruik jobs

Townsville was a city divided on Tuesday with diametrically opposing views on the great benefits - or catastrophes - that would flow to the area as the Adani coal mine won its final approvals.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was in Townsville to meet with Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani and announce the city will be home to the Carmichael mine's regional headquarters.

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Adani mine project moves forward

Jobs, regional investement, and the battle against climate change... all will benefit, say Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj at an announcement in Townsville. Vision courtesy ABC News 24

Ms Palaszczuk said the announcement was a great boost to the city, which was hard hit by the collapse of Queensland Nickel, with the jobs to be advertised in regional newspapers.

Population centres such as Mackay, Bowen, Rockhampton, Emerald, Moranbah and Charters Towers will also provide support services.

Federal Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said it was the "biggest news for North Queensland since the Beatles came to Australia".

When the Beatles toured Australia in 1964, they did not travel further north than Brisbane. 

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But while Ms Palaszczuk has described the news as "a new dawn for the city", others fear Adani's impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and environment.

Australian Marine Conservation Society community campaigner Cherry Muddle said the mine would have a devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef and tourism jobs.

"A healthy Queensland economy relies on a healthy Great Barrier Reef," Ms Muddle said.

Juru elder Aunty Carol Prior said Adani was disrespectful to Australia's first nations people and said the mine would destroy cultural heritage.

"As a living descendent of the Juru ancestors, the traditional custodians of the area around Abbot Point, I am telling Adani to pack up and go home," she said.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council said it opposed the project.

Former Townsville deputy mayor Vern Veitch said he was concerned about climate change and it was time Australia kicked the addiction to coal.

Mr Veitch is also a member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority local marine advisory committee.

But Ms Palaszczuk said the project was subject to 39 significant approval processes and rigorous environmental assessment.

"One of the first steps that my government took was to ensure that there will be no dumping of capital dredge spoil into the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the project was job-building.

"We can have jobs, economic prosperity and we can protect our environment and protect the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

Adani Australia chief executive officer Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the Carmichael project was "back on track", despite pending court processes.

"Sixty per cent of Adani's energy mix will be from renewable sources, which gives us more than any moral high ground not just to talk but to do steps that we need to protect India's energy security, India's energy affordability and therefore bring millions of Indians out of poverty," Mr Janakaraj said.

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the news was "bittersweet".

"It's sweet because of the jobs, the thousands of jobs it promises, particularly the jobs it promises for regional Queensland," Mr Nicholls said.

"But it's bitter in the sense that it has taken two years for Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Labor government to get off their backsides and come to the party."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the regional Queenslanders would cheer the announcement but the finish line was still a long way away due to green activists.

"The green activists are responsible for holding up this project and therefore taking away jobs and revenue from the people of this state," Mr Macfarlane said.

"While those very activists enjoy the everyday luxuries such as electricity that we take for granted, they are preventing those living in India from enjoying the same standard of living."

Mr Macfarlane said the flow-on effect to the economy would be felt across the state.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters said she was concerned at the prospect of a $1 billion concessional loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, and she could think of better things to spend taxpayer money on.

"You can't have new coal and the reef - it's a choice. I know what choice I want to make," she said.

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