The largest-ever survey on the proposed Adani coal mine has revealed a majority of people think the multi-billion-dollar project should be scrapped but also shows a reverse NIMBY effect — the closer you get, the greater the support.
The proposition put forward in the Vote Compass survey was: “The Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin should be built”.
Across Australia 61 per cent of people answered either “strongly disagree” or “somewhat disagree” based on a representative sample of 119,682 people.
Just 20 per cent wanted the project given the green light, responding “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree”, with 13 per cent “neutral” and five per cent “don’t know”.
The project has been a lightning rod for climate change activists and a source of tension within both Labor and the Coalition.
The Morrison Government gave it the final federal approvals before going into caretaker mode, reportedly after pressure from some Queensland Liberal National MPs, leaving the future of the project in the hands the State Labor Government, which is still mulling over approvals for Adani’s groundwater and black-throated finch management plans.
The level of opposition in the Vote Compass results was consistently high across most demographics: men, women, level of education, income, language spoken at home and religion.
There is a noticeable difference when broken down by voting intention.
Greens and ALP voters are clearly against the mine but there’s a significant chunk of Coalition and One Nation voters on either side of the issue — 41 per cent of Coalition voters are for the project and 33 per cent against.
Support outweighed opposition in rural Queensland
But the most clear division is based on geography.
Put simply, support is strongest closer to the proposed mine site.
In rural Queensland, 48 per cent of people want the coal mine built, with 38 per cent against.
That support drops to 26 per cent in inner-metropolitan areas in Queensland, 30 per cent in the Northern Territory, and 20 per cent in Western Australia.
The lowest support was seen in the inner-metropolitan areas of our capital cities (15 per cent).
For example, both Cathy O’Toole, who is contesting the Townsville-based electorate of Herbert, and Russel Robertson in the Rockhampton-centred electorate of Capricornia, are enthusiastic supporters of the Adani project.
In Brisbane’s inner-city, ALP candidate for Griffith Terri Butler is firmly opposed.
The support for renewable energy is also lower in regional Queensland compared to the rest of the nation according to Vote Compass data.
Of Australia’s 151 electorates, the bottom three based on appetite for greater use of renewable energy were in Queensland — Flynn, Maranoa, and Hinkler — communities where coal mining is a significant part of the economy and a source of employment.