Surprise reason given for council’s Adani blacklist
DEPUTY Mayor Chris Cherry has defended Tweed Shire Council blacklisting construction companies linked to the contentious Adani Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland.
Cr Cherry said the council's ban was "not a decision based on ideologies".
Instead, she said the decision was "based on limiting council's financial risk".
"My continued support for this position is based on making financially responsible decisions for Council," she said.
"It would appear the Carmichael mine project is financially extremely vulnerable.
"The fact that a large proportion of our community are ideologically opposed to the Carmichael mine and the predicted damage it may have on Australia's greatest tourism asset, the Great Barrier Reef, is not the basis for my support for our procurement limitation on civil construction companies."
Cr Cherry often votes as part of the so-called 'Rainbow Four', alongside progressive Tweed councillors Reece Byrnes, Ron Cooper and Mayor Katie Milne.
Last year, they led a vote 4-3 in favour of changing the council's procurement policy.
Currently, civil construction companies must disclose any direct contractual agreement for construction or operation purposes with Adani while applying for tender.
Those which have worked on the Indian multinational's coal mine are ineligible for council projects.
But it's expected outspoken LNP councillor James Owen will put forward a rescission motion at Thursday's council meeting.
Cr Cherry said the council's position certainly did not affect all procurement processes.
It affects civil construction companies and Cr Cherry said there was "very few companies in the Tweed that are actually impacted by this position".
She also pointed to comments in the media by University of Sydney Professor and senior forensic accounting specialist Sandra van der Laan.
Prof van der Laan told the ABC that Adani Australia "looks like a corporate collapse waiting to happen" and the company was in a "very fragile, even perilous, financial position".
Cr Cherry said Prof van der Laan's comments showed the council had to protect its interests.
"I think we, as a Council, need to distance ourselves from this financial risk, just like the four major banks have done," she said.
However, Adani responded and labelled Prof van der Laan's comments "false and misleading".
Adani has been operating successfully in Australia for nine years and the claims amounted to "nothing more than a smear campaign", a spokesperson said.