Westpac stance on coal ‘disappointing’: PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says coal has a big role to play in Australia’s energy future, and he’s disappointed that Westpac has turned its back on the Adani mine and others in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.


“I am disappointed that Westpac has made that decision. I think these projects should be examined on their merits,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Townsville on Monday.

Westpac ruled out supporting the Adani mine and others in the Galilee Basin under its new climate change action plan announced on Friday, in a move savaged by Resources Minister Matt Canavan as anti-development.

Mr Turnbull echoed those sentiments on Monday, saying: “Coal has a big role to play for a very long time”.

“The idea that Australia, (as) the largest coal exporting nation in the world, would suddenly walk away from that enormous resource is extraordinary,” he said.

Modern, low-emissions coal fired-power stations would help ensure Australia had affordable energy, while renewable sources and storage options were ramped up, he said.

On Sunday, Senator Canavan suggested Westpac’s position on coal was anti-Queensland, and anti-growth.

“We are trying to develop the north, we are trying to develop our country and get behind new products like opening up the Galilee Basin with 16,000 jobs,” Senate Canavan told Sky news.

“Here we have a bank which should be a proud Australian … they are not going to finance stuff that is going to develop our country.”

He also branded Westpac hypocritical, being itself a big polluter with its data centres for its own products.