Adani denied Australian federal funding as greens up the ante

Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises Ltd will not get Australian federal financing of a loan facility to build a rail line to its proposed Carmichael coal project, a federal minister has confirmed.

Speaking to Sky News Speers on Sunday, assistant minister for vocational education Karen Andrews said that financing a loan facility for the Adani rail line would not proceed.

''Given the position that the Labor state government actually took to the last election and their election, there won't be financing from the Federal Government,'' Andrews said in the televised interview.

The minister's comments come amidst protests demanding that the Adani mine be scrapped.

Protesters have gathered outside Parliament House, as politicians returned for the first sitting day of the year, vowing to break the coal-political nexus in Australia.

"This coal must stay in the ground," Australian Associated Press reported quoting Greens senator Jordon Steele-John.

"This is the central issue in relation to climate change at the moment on the Australian political agenda."

Adani planned to use a A$900 million ($713.34 million) government loan to help build a 400 km (250 mile) rail line to connect its long-delayed Carmichael coal mine with a port in Queensland.

But the newly elected Queensland state premier had in December vetoed the loan that was to come under the federal government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) programme.

While speculation was rife that the Australian federal funds might have flowed to the project via legal work-arounds, it has now been made clear that this will not happen.

This year the Stop Adani movement plans to release a second documentary on the impact of the Adani coal mine, introduce campaign boot camps and increase its mobilisation activities.

Speaking at the protest, Joseph Zane Sikulu, Pacific Project Co-ordinator forthe climate movement, said the Stop Adani movement had also spread beyond Australia.

"We called Australia out for the fact that they are not a good big brother to the people in the Pacific," he said.

"Those realities are no longer just ours, they are yours as well," he said of rising sea waters and reef bleaching caused by climate change.

Adani group chairman Gautam Adani, meanwhile, said groups opposed to its Queensland coal mine development, especially in the Galilee Basin. were using "vicious personal attacks" to push their agenda.

Last week, opposition leader Bill Shorten said he was "increasingly sceptical" of the project, which is being supported by Queensland's Labor government.

Head of the by-election for the marginal federal seat of Batman in Melbourne's inner-north, Labor's candidate for Batman, union leader Ged Kearney, also said last week she didn't think the Adani mine would go ahead.

The proposed A$16.5-billion Carmichael project, which would be the largest coal mine in Australia if built, has been delayed for long for want of funds.

Several lenders, including Deutsche Bank AG, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and two Chinese state banks, have said they will not provide funding for the Adani coal mine project, given the opposition to investment in fossil fuels.