Breaking ground in Adani’s Utopia

Having argued for some time that Adani’s Carmichael mine-rail-port project is unlikely to go ahead, I was initially surprised to read the announcement that Adani says it will break ground on Carmichael rail link ‘within days’. My mental image was of heavy earthmoving equipment excavating the route along which the line is to be laid. This seemed surprising to me, since there had been no evidence that the project was anywhere near that stage.

But a closer reading suggests that the “ground breaking” is of the kind seen in a typical episode of Utopia, in which lots of dignitaries are presented with shovels and turn over a piece of dirt, to “mark the official start” of the project. That is, presumably, a different “official start” from the one that was marked by another ceremony back in June. Obviously, this ups the pressure on governments to lend public money to the project since a failure to do so would mean abandoning a project that is “officially” under way.

12 thoughts on “Breaking ground in Adani’s Utopia

  1. “Obviously, this ups the pressure on governments to lend public money to the project since a failure to do so would mean abandoning a project that is “officially” under way.”

    Ha ha ha.

  2. Marginal cost vs marginal benefit, innit.

    Hiring a couple of gender-nonspecific blokes with hi-viz shovels for a half-day has the same “this project is properly going forward!” visual impact as spending the money on a proper construction start, but it’s vastly cheaper. I mean, it won’t fool the people who look at the underlying cash-flows and economics… but they’re already not-fooled by the, you know, utterly stuffed market the project’s operating in. The marks at the retail funds will be convinced, and that’ll give them another couple of months to play with.

  3. The main group has allocated them “up to” $400 million. I guess “up to” is doing a lot of work there.

  4. Running through the so called deals;

    Arrium are in administration and have been for some time so would not be able to enter into a contract;

    Austrak was for sale, falling sales etc, the promise of more work may have made the business more attractive?

    GA Services seem to be the proverbial man with ute operation;

    Downer only have a letter of intent;

    If AECOM may have a contract to design but for some reason they are keeping it quiet.

    Michael West thinks it’s the con of the century, or centuries

  5. We are all hoping (in this thread) that these deals will die so no coal is mined at Carmichael. I think there is a high probability these deal will die IF our governments are wise enough and incorruptible enough to NOT give subsidies (free money) to Adani. I am not so hopeful that they are wise and incorruptible enough.

    There are other ways regional Australia can be helped. Instead of giving the money to Adani, give it in grants for worthwhile and sustainable regional development. J.Q. has said as much and more than once.

  6. The thing is… “network externalities” are second-order effects — how people change their actions in response to how they think other people will change their actions — and conservative politicians aren’t very good at working with second-order effects, for reasons I’ve hypothesised about at length. Conservatives cannot build sustainable regional development, they simply don’t have the mental attitudes.

    It’s the same as the carbon-pricing problem, but backwards; the LNP party-room simply doesn’t understand why their faffing about with carbon plans is driving up uncertainty and pricing, because they don’t understand how people’s expectations of the behaviour of others change their own behaviour. If you want a policy depending on “I will do A, and then people will do B in response, and the combined effect will get us C”, then you simply can’t vote for anybody on the Right.

  7. ABC radio news this afternoon reports the ‘ground breaking’ has been postponed apparently on the hope that the current wet weather in SE Qld will extend to a deluge up Mooranbah way by week’s end.

    Murdoch’s Curried Snail breaking news today in Townsville reports:

    “AFTER eight years of court battles and bureaucracy, rain has wrecked Adani’s plans for a grand start to its development on the massive Carmichael mine and rail project.

    Its planned ceremonial start to the project for this Friday has been postponed because of concerns about the weather …

    Adani has yet to say when the rescheduled event will occur.”

    Much like the breaking of wind.

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