TRANSCRIPT: Interview with Richard King 2HD

May 30, 2017










TUESDAY, 30th MAY 2017

SUBJECTS: Adani, the Turnbull Government’s war on Hunter coal miners, Newcastle Harbour protests, the Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea, budget forums. 

Good morning Pat.


KING: Good thanks. Look I might just add on the subject of the Cancer Council I think you and Jodie Harrison are having a fund raiser, a Biggest Morning Tea is that correct?

CONROY: Yeah, we’re having a morning tea at Kahibah next week, next Wednesday. So if you’re interested in details please look on my Facebook page or Jodie Harrison’s. It’s on next Wednesday morning and all funds raised will go to the Cancer Council which is a great cause, and well done on you for putting together that concert.

KING: Yeah well it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it and well done you and Jodie too for next Wednesday. Okay, it’s on you Facebook page the details, next Wednesday at Kahibah. Pat the subject of our conversation is the Adani coal mine and, boy oh boy, a lot of people have been talking about this for a long time. You’re arguing that the Turnbull Government has declared war on Hunter coal miners by considering this $1 billion loan to help fund the rail link. It’s certainly a hotbed of contention this Adani mine, Pat?

CONROY: Yes absolutely. But if we just step back and look at the facts: coal consumption peaked around the world in 2013. The coal market globally is actually shrinking so if you increase supply, by definition you’ll actually going to reduce that price other coal producers are going to get for their product. So first off, I’m worried about the impact of Adani because of that and, when you add on top of that that they’ll be getting a $1 billion dollar subsidy from the federal Government, I think that demonstrates that the federal Government has zero concern for our local miners.

KING: Right, well a lot of people would argue against that. I know when this sort of hit the fan at the start of the year, the Minerals Council they came out and well basically criticised the protest groups and that was back in January. It’s interesting; the Minerals Council were very strong on that. The NSW Minerals Council have been very supportive of the Adani mine despite the fact that you, and many others say it’s going to have a negative impact here in the Hunter Valley, Pat?

CONROY: I think their behaviour is quite frankly bizarre. You could understand that position if coal is growing, but imports to both China and India have fallen; the seaborne coal trade has fallen by 6 per cent. So this is adding more coal into a shrinking market. I’m not one of these mad greenies who wants to shut down the coal mining industry. But I am concerned about a $1 billion subsidy going to set up a competitor to our coal mines that are already under pressure.

KING: The Minerals Council have also warned that if the, I think they put a figure of $16.5 billion on the Adani coal mine project, that if it collapses it will inflict serious damage on our trading relationship [indistinct audio]?

CONROY: Oh look I think that’s wrong. I think what we’re talking about isn’t about stopping Adani going ahead, it is about saying the federal Government shouldn’t provide a $1 billion loan. If Adani meets of its environmental requirements, all its conditions and it raises the money privately; then good luck to them. I don’t think they will quite frankly because as I said, the coal market globally is shrinking, not growing. My bone of contention is that the federal Government shouldn’t be spending a $1 billion to threaten our coal miners. And let’s put this in context. Adani themselves admit that this project will only create 1,400 jobs, and those 1,400 jobs will be very welcome in central and northern Queensland, that’s great. But they’re endangering the 18,000 coal miners that currently work in the Hunter Valley and all the communities that rely on those jobs.

KING: My guest the federal Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy on 2HD. It’s coming up to fourteen past eight. You made reference to the protest yesterday that happened here in Newcastle. A number of Greenpeace protesters were arrested on Newcastle harbour. Again, the Minerals Council issued a press release and said as a consequence the federal Government should remove the special tax treatment that is currently provided to Greenpeace, would you go along with that?

CONROY: I wouldn’t. I totally condemn their action. They not only endanger themselves, they endanger the workers just doing their job. But we shouldn’t take punitive action against groups because that’s silencing dissent. I totally disagree with their action. I wish they would conduct their protest in a more constructive manner. This is one of the other issues that irritates me: all these environmentalists protesting against Adani or coal exports, if they spent half as much energy campaigning for a hard cap on Australia’s carbon pollution and decent targets then we would be in a much better position environmentally. They just look for the cheap symbolism rather than going after the real issues. So I think that’s a pretty poor use of their time, and it endangers not only themselves but the workers and quite frankly the people who have to rescue them.

KING: Right, good to talk to you. And look, just out of interest your budget information sessions, which were a week or so ago, were they well received Pat?

CONROY: Yeah it was very positive and people were very grateful for the information, finding out what was in the budget. There was a lot of good debate about whether the budget was fair or not. Whether we should be doing more around government procurement. Whether we should be supporting renewable energy more and taxing our gas and minerals more effectively. So there were really good debates and I’m really grateful for everyone who turned up.

KING: I’m grateful you’ve had a chat to us this morning. Pat have a good day and thank you for your time.

CONROY: You too Richard, have a good day. Goodbye.


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