Aboriginal elder Colin McLennan. Picture: Richard Walker/AAP
Aboriginal elder Colin McLennan. Picture: Richard Walker/AAP

‘It’ll be war’: Chilling threat over Adani delay

THE key native title holder over lands impacted by the Carmichael coalmine has warned the State Government it risks a war with indigenous people if it continues to thwart the project.

Jangga elder Colin McLennan - whose country abuts the mine site and covers most of the project's proposed rail line - said a jobs crisis loomed in regional Queensland if Labor prohibited development in the Galilee Basin.

Speaking exclusively to The Courier-Mail, Mr McLennan took aim at Treasurer Jackie Trad for being the key figure preventing Adani's mine from proceeding, saying she should just join the Greens.

The criticism comes as Adani accuses the Department of Environment and Science of further delaying finalisation of it groundwater management plan in another secret review process.

"There are five more mines coming on in that country," Mr McLennan said.

"It will be like war if they stop them. You can't just accept the way it is now."

The 3500-strong Jangga people have flexed their muscle repeatedly over the mine, forcing Adani to move the rail line route four times while eliciting significant job guarantees for indigenous people out of the Indian miner.


Aboriginal elder Colin McLennan. Picture: Richard Walker/AAP
Aboriginal elder Colin McLennan. Picture: Richard Walker/AAP

But after fighting for eight years to get the mine approved, Mr McLennan said he was angry at the Government's delaying tactics.

"They say one thing and then they say another thing," he said.

"Things should happen but they don't.

"You've got the opposite to the Premier, you've got Jackie Trad who is standing in the way."

Mr McLennan said the Labor government was condemning regional Queenslanders to unemployment if it sides with activists to prevent development of the Carmichael mine.

"There's a lot of people out of work and if we don't get the mine operating we are going to have a crisis on our hands, especially in Townsville where there is a hell of a lot of people out of work and there is a lot of crime," he said.

"We are trying to show them a way that we can help the people, not only for the indigenous people but for the white people too.

"That's the way we think."

His comments coincide with the two year anniversary of Adani first submitting its management plan for the endangered black-throated finch.


Treasurer Jackie Trad (front) with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Treasurer Jackie Trad (front) with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk


The project is now in limbo after the Palaszczuk Government ordered an 11th-hour review and major changes to the finch plan which Adani has warned could delay the mine for years.

Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow yesterday accused the Government of another surprise delay tactic in requesting further information from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia on the groundwater management plan.

"We are now facing the prospect of another tortuous and never-ending management plan approval process like the one we have endured for the Black-Throated Finch," he said.

"Trying to see what needs to be done to ensure these management plans can be signed off is like trying to see through a brick wall - there is absolute zero transparency."

Meanwhile, Mr McLennan said he was confident the bird and mine could co-exist, blaming rampant tree clearing and the decline of native grass for causing the finch's decline.

"They have about 30,000 acres of land where you can offset it and grow the grass there," he said.

"So there's ways of doing these things.

"You just can't harp on about the black-throated finch when people can just breed them

"So what's the problem?"