Bill Shorten, Australia needs investment & jobs

Sydney, 10 February, 2018

We, Indian Australians, have been following various reports coming out of print and digital media, and various television and radio channels relating to the Adani’s projects in Australia. As you would be aware that this has been the largest investment by an Indian company in Australia and has become a signature project strengthening ties between Australia and India. Adani has invested a lot of resources and time on its projects in Australia and continued to progress in-spite of huge resistance coming from anti-coal groups.

The information that we gathered from the publicly available information, they have invested over $3.3 billion in Australia since 2010. We as a community have been closely watching and monitoring the progress of this project and of late are getting very concerned about how a project of this magnitude is being unfairly targeted.

The projects that are being undertaken by Adani is a private investment and we normally do not comment on the positions taken and decisions made by a private company. However, the reports coming out of the media have caused us serious concerns as a community who love the Australian way of life and believe in providing ‘fair-go’ to everyone irrespective of one’s affiliation to a particular community, race, or sexual orientation.

We strongly feel that we are not giving a ‘fair-go’ to Adani, and we have been creating one hurdle after another. Again, based on the publically available information, we understand that Adani’s projects have gone through onerous approvals processes (at federal, state and local levels). These approvals were challenged at various courts of law (including the matters relating to the impact on environment), and after due consideration of all the facts, and based purely on the merit of the projects, decisions were given in favour of the company. Once the company has followed the due process and has adhered to the law of the land in which the projects are being developed, we believe they have full right to proceed with the business. If we raise the same issues that have already been considered during the approval processes and the court processes then we are conveying the message that either we do not wish to follow the verdict of the law or we are ignorant about the process undertaken. In either situation, this impacts negatively the company that is trying hard to develop the project.

We were dismayed with the backflip from Qld Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, during last election after supporting Adani Group for years. Crash politics was at play in her decision.

Our dismay is compounded with recent statements from the leader of the Opposition, Mr Bill Shorten, who seems to put his party’s interest before Australia’s interests. Votes of anti-investment Extreme Left groups in Batman seat of Melbourne are more important.

It is becoming very clear that the activists disguised as the protectors of the environment are not only disregarding the law of the land but also, to some extent, undertaking unlawful activities. This is clearly demonstrated by the protests to stop the rail traffic or disturb the operation of the port and creating life threatening situations.

We are also disturbed by the fact that the politicians (especially those with far-left views) are using the project for their political benefit. This is evident from the recent election in Queensland and the upcoming by-election in Batman – governments who have made various comments in media supporting the project in the past are back-flipping at the time of election to capture green votes. The parties may be able to garner few additional seats by using these petty tactics, however, we strongly believe that it undermines the fabric of a “fair go” and the Australian way of life.

In a democratic society, everyone’ voice needs to be heard. It applies to both the sides- activists as well as that of the proponents of the projects. Also, the oppositions should be based on facts and not on some ill-informed views and opinion.

Some important facts are:

– India is one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide on a per capita basis

– There are over 300 million Indians that do not have access to power

– The project is intended to provide electricity to thousands of villages in India

– Will generate significant jobs in Australia

India has been one of the fastest growing economies of the world. India with its huge middle-class population, in need of improving the standard of living of its masses through provision of luxuries of life, which we as Australians take for granted, is on the cusp of becoming one of the largest economies of the world. Australia is very well placed to benefit from the growth of India. The success of Adani project will provide a very positive message to the Indian investors who are looking to invest in a stable and investor friendly country. The trade between India and Australia will suffer a massive blow if we let our petty politics to jeopardize investor sentiment.

Adani Fact Sheet:

Adani has been building a long-term future with Queensland and Australia

Adani’s presence in Australia

• Adani commenced its journey in Queensland, Australia more than 7 years ago when it acquired mining tenement in August 2010 and have its presence in following business:-

• Adani Australia is developing the “Carmichael Coal Mine” project which will be the first mine in the Galilee Basin, Central Queensland.

• Adani Australia is developing multi user, open access 388 km Rail linking the mine to Abbot Point Terminal

• Adani Australia owns and operates existing Abbot Point Port Terminal.

• Adani Australia is progressing 2 solar projects located at Rugby Run, Queensland and Whyalla in South Australia

• Over $3.3 billion has been spent to date on the projects. It is the largest Indian Investment to date

• Adani Australia currently employs more than 800 people across all our operations.

Environment & Approvals Journey

• The Carmichael Coal Project has been granted approvals under 7 different Commonwealth and Queensland Acts.

• Adani has obtained 112 approvals and permits from both State and Federal government

• There are over 1,800 strict conditions across these permits and approvals.

• Adani had ZERO land holder objection to the Carmichael Coal Mine under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 or Mineral Resources Act 1989.

• Their approvals have been tested in the courts and Adani has won ALL the court cases to reach this stage

• All the litigations were filed by anti-coal NGOs to delay and disrupt the development.

• Adani has all the agreements (ILUA) in place with all 4 Traditional Owners. Only a minority of one group (W&J) has challenged the agreement which has been funded by foreign NGOs through back channels.

• In Summary, Adani has been subject to rigorous and at times multiple approval processes over nearly 8 years at both State and Federal level that have been tested and upheld in the courts resulting in net delay of approximately 3 years

Benefits of Project

• Adani Australia will create more than 10000 direct and indirect jobs at full capacity of mine

• Over $22 Billion in the form of Royalties and taxes which shall be reinvested by government into community

• The Coal from Carmichael project will replace the poorer quality of domestic coal burn in India and will reduce the associated carbon emission

• This project is intended to provide energy security to those in the 18000 villages in India that have no access to electricity and thus lifting millions of Indians out of energy poverty

• Will build a strong economic relationship between Australia and India

Important links:

https://t.co/46a86ELGGY

https://t.co/kG4N3H4FMo

https://t.co/jG8Amy1uiy

https://t.co/v2kvEhzpPr

As concerned people, we appeal to both sides of politics to provide confidence to the investors in Australia by providing unequivocal support for the Adani project who have spent years to obtain approvals from the government and through the court processes.

We as Australians should certainly provide assurance to the investors that Australia is open for business and would assist anyone who follows the law of the land with full support and protection for it to grow and at the same time benefit all Australians.

Finally, ALP and Bill Shorten should listen to people, Mayors and Union leaders operating in regional Queensland, who are supporting this investment, instead of listening to anti-investment extreme Left activists and groups. Bill Shorten and ALP should give a “Fair Go” to Adani Australia, and not backflip this late in piece after saying YES for years.

There are formal processes to go through for any development. If Adani Australia complies with all those conditions they have any right to go ahead with the development. One should be challenging the process that gives the approval, not the applicant.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

Indian Australians as part of “Team Australia”!

Sydney, Thursday, 2014

Australian ParliamentPrime Minister, Tony Abbott, has rightly said recently that there is no point to migrate if people are not willing to put Australia, its interests, its values and its people first! Indian Parliament

He further said ‘You don’t migrate to this country unless you want to join our team, calling it “Team Australia”. He praised migrants for choosing to migrate to Australia, and exhorted them (migrants) to be proud of their heritage and culture.

I agree with him. I do not believe there would be many sensible people who will disagree with him.

Australia is a successful multicultural nation, just like The United States of America. Australia is our home, and we are very proud of Australia.

There is one little difference between Australia and USA, which has become quite important lately.

During 2009, when Indian students issues in Australia had saturation coverage in India, and India-Australia relations suffered, the then Federal Govt in Canberra did not deal with the issues in the most efficient way. Indian media calling Australia a racist country was not tackled properly and promptly. Australia depended solely on its diplomats to tackle it, instead of also utilising the Indian Australian community to help the Govt in dealing with it. It was well known that most of Indian Australian community did not share the views of Indian media. My friends and I made it very clear to Indian Govt and Indian media that we did not agree with their description of Australia as a racist nation. I took part in a debate “Ïs Australia a racist country?” with Daily Telegraph journalist, David Penberthy, televised in Sunrise programme of Channel 7, and wrote a Blog post “who is racist-Australia or Indian media?” https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/who-is-racist-australia-or-indian-media/  Both were quite popular.

Many believe that The Rudd Govt officials should have utilized Indian Australian community prominently in dealing with exaggerated and imbalanced reporting against Australia in Indian media. They believe that things would have been easier to deal with if Indian Australians were also part of Australian Govt’s strategy to deal with it. After all, it would have been much more easier and effective if Indian media had dealt with Indian Australians here in Australia as well as in India, and heard that their description of Australia was not entirely correct.

Thankfully, things have moved on and relations between Australia and India are on the upswing. Australia and India have just concluded Uranium trade deal negotiations, and an agreement in this regard is likely to be signed when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits New Delhi early next month.

Australia does have some people from Indian heritage in its diplomatic staff, but they are very small in numbers. Australia has not utilized the Indian Australian community in its outreach to India generally, even when this community is getting bigger by the day. Approx 500,000 people in Australia have Indian heritage. Former NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, used to rely on just one person of Indian heritage, who is his personal friend, but unfortunately did not have much to do with either India or Indian Australian community. Mr O’Farrell could have done better and taken a leaf from his counterparts from Victoria, who did, and do, include members of Victorian Indian Australian community whenever they go to India with Trade delegations. New NSW Premier, Mike Baird, has not been to India yet. Let us see, and in fact hope, whether he will be different from his predecessor in this regard.

If you compare all this with what USA is doing with similar visits to India currently, you will see that Indian Americans form prominent parts of such delegations.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/For-India-outreach-US-brings-into-play-Indian-Americans/articleshow/39785133.cms

Nisha Desai Biswal, Arun Kumar and Puneet Talwar, who are all Assistant Secretaries and are of Indian heritage, accompanied US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker and Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel respectively during their recent visits to India. Their presence certainly created quite a good amount of goodwill  and conducive atmosphere.

United States’ Presidential delegations to India have always included prominent Indian American businessmen and community leaders. This has not been the case with Australian delegations of similar nature.

It’s about time that Australian Govt leaders follow the examples set by their American counterparts, because not only it is a smart policy, but  it is lalso likely to accelerate the growth of Australia-India relations.

In addition, and as a bonus, it is also going to create a feeling that Indian Australian community is a vital part of “Team Australia”, with many potential electoral benefits to the ruling party in the area like Western suburbs of Sydney and elsewhere! 

Dr Yadu Singh

dryadusingh@gmail.com

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

au.linkedin.com/in/dryadusingh/

 

 

 

Australia concludes Nuclear trade deal with India!

Australian FlagSydney, 21st Aug, 2014Indian Flag flying

From various news sources, it is clear that Australia has concluded Civil nuclear deal with India recently. Uranium trade between Australia and India is likely to start soon. It appears that the deal has been concluded relatively quickly after India elected its new Govt led by Mr Narendra Modi. The agreement is likely to be signed by India and Australia during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to India in the first week of September.

Let me also point out that it was Prime Minister John Howard who announced in 2007 that Australian Govt will reverse the ban to sell Uranium to India. It changed when Kevin Rudd became the Prime Minister a few months later and reversed it. Finally, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was the one who campaigned successfully to get ALP reverse its policy to ban Uranium sale to India in Dec 2011, followed by an agreement between Australia and India to start the negotiations on the nitty gritty of the supply agreement in 2012.

I wrote about this matter a few years ago. http://tinyurl.com/7bytnbo & http://tinyurl.com/6s7d7dx

Australia-India relations are on an upswing, after having suffered a few years ago.

I and many from Indian Australian Community are very happy with the improved Australia-India relations.

Congratulations are due to Australian Govt led by Mr Tony Abbott and Indian Govt led by Mr Narendra Modi. Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, and Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj, have also played a big role.

India is currently third in the list of countries which use nuclear energy. There are 21 nuclear reactors in India which are producing electricity but India needs to increase such electricity production, knowing electricity shortage. Currently, nuclear energy constitutes only 4% of total electricity production.

Australia has 1/3rd of the total Uranium of the world. This agreement is going to make Uranium supply to India much easier.

As usual, and in a totally predictable manner, Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, did not like it at all, and used some arguments, which are irrelevant and dated. NPT issue is not relevant in India’s case after India was given an exemption by Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2008. Also, unlike India’s neighbours, India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation.

India is going through the discussions for Civil nuclear trade with Japan currently. Once concluded, India should be able to accelerate nuclear energy production.

Since 2005 onwards, India has already entered into civil nuclear agreements with the US, Mangolia, Namibia, Argentina, the UK, Canada, Kazakhstan and South Korea, France and Russia.  

Indian Australian community has a desire to see speedy growth in Australia India relations in all dimensions and aspects.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

au.linkedin.com/in/dryadusingh/

Yes, tapping into Asian boom is in Australia’s national interest!

Julia Gillard

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/julia-gillard-commissions-white-paper-to-look-at-ways-to-exploit-asian-boom/story-fn59nm2j-1226149322811

Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has outlined in a speech in Asia Society today that Australia wants to tap into the booming economies of Asia, especially China, India and Indonesia. Australia’s raw materials, education and manufactured goods are in high demands in Asia. It is in the national interest of Australia to deal with Asian economies actively.

A white paper will be released by mid 2012, outlining various issues, risks, opportunities and benefits. Mr Ken Henry, ex-treasury secretary is the person who will do this job. This white paper will have detail of the short term initiatives [up to 5 years] and long term initiatives for a period up to 2025.

It is a no brainer for Australia to do so. In coming years and decades, Australian economy will get increasingly integrated with Asian economies. China, Japan, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Singapore and other nations from Asia are already our most important trading partners. This is going to increase more in the coming years. The booming economies in Asia have made people call it “Asian Century”, and indeed, it is a smart move for Australia to tap into these economies more actively and speedily.

There will be some political issues which may create some obstacle, but they can all be managed with varying degree of ease. 

As far as India is concerned, there is one potential obstacle which comes to mind. Some have called it an unnecessary irritation. There are enough justifications for Australia to sell Uranium to India and earn goodwill with India. People who know this issue have all suggested that Uranium issue needs urgent attention, and sale agreed, to take the India-Australia relations to a much higher level. PM Gillard should not have any trouble in getting the relevant amendments of the existing Acts passed in the Parliament, because Coalition already supports Uranium trade to India.

 In 2009, the bilateral trade between Australia and India was $20.87 billions. By now, it would have easily crossed $23 billions. With Uranium issue sorted, the bilateral trade can go to the top gear and easily double from the current value in a short to mid term.

To take the trade and relation at the higher level, it would be helpful to have an expertise in the national languages of these nations. In India’s case, there is a lot of points in favour of including India’s national language, HINDI, as a secondary language in the national curriculum. My previous Blog on Hindi is here. https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/australian-national-draft-curriculum-for-second-tier-languageswhy-is-hindi-missing-from-it/

I am looking forward to this White Paper next year.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/28th Sept, 2011

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

Related articles

Australian High Commissioner to India, Mr Peter Varghese’s Op-ed in an Indian newspaper:It makes a lot of sense!

Article by High Commissioner Peter Varghese- 1 February 2010 [Sent by DFAT with thanks. Also available on the website of Australian High Commission, New Delhi, India]

http://www.india.highcommission.gov.au/ndli/article1feb.html

 “What is happening in Australia? The widespread media coverage of attacks on Indians in Australia has raised several understandable questions. Are Indian students safe in Australia? Are Indians being singled out? Why are these attacks happening? Are they racially motivated and what is being done to address the problem? Crime is never easy to dissect and crime statistics even more so. We know that Australia is a relatively safe place with homicide and assault rates well below the global average. But we cannot prove with existing data, one way or another, whether Indian students are more likely to be assaulted than students from other countries. Also, with the number of Indian students growing by nearly 400 percent in the space of a few years the number of Indians affected by street crime has also increased in absolute numbers. The overwhelming majority of the half million foreign students in Australia, including the vast majority of Indian students, have a safe and positive experience. That may be cold comfort for Indian victims of assault and their families back home, but it is nevertheless an important point to make. Many of the Indian students in Australia are under financial pressure. Their visa requires them to have enough money in the bank to cover their costs before they come to Australia. But in many cases this does not happen. And when the pressure is on you to earn money quickly you do two things. First, you seek out night shift work because that is easier to get and may pay more. This means that you are more likely to be in a higher risk job such as driving taxis late at night. Second, you look for cheap accommodation which may put you in a higher crime neighbourhood and commuting to it at an hour when attacks are more likely. None of this excuses attacks. And no one should ever blame the victim. But it might help explain why some of these attacks are occurring. Are the attacks racist? For the most part they are the ugly face of urban crime committed by criminals from a wide variety of racial backgrounds. Many of the assailants have been juveniles or young adults acting in an aggressive and predatory way. But in some cases the attacks have been accompanied by racial abuse: something for which the Australian government has zero tolerance and the great majority of Australians condemn as completely unacceptable. If race is the motive, it will come out in the course of investigation and trial. We need to allow those processes to run their course and not make instant judgements based on initial media reports which may turn out to be wrong. This applies as much to the media as it does to those investigating these crimes. So what is being done? A lot. We have increased police resources. In Melbourne, where many of these attacks have occurred, we have put in place special action to target crime hotspots and to run a “safe stations” program. We have given police wider powers to search for weapons without a warrant and to move unruly people on. We have introduced legislation to allow our courts to impose tougher sentences for hate crime. We have set up special consultative arrangements for the police to liaise with Indian and other international students, including a hotline for students who need advice or help. And we are going after the perpetrators. Already in Victoria alone some 45 people have been arrested for crimes against Indian students or nationals. The courts are dealing with the culprits, including in one case a sentence of 18 years for a vicious attack against a person of Indian origin. In one recent assault case, the assailant was given a three month prison sentence within twenty four hours of the attack. The Victorian police are giving a very high priority to finding the killer of Nitin Garg. And our Prime Minister has set up a special task force to deal with these attacks, chaired by the National Security Adviser and involving all the state governments. As a government and a community we take these attacks seriously. We cannot promise to stop urban crime — no government can credibly do that. But we are determined to address the problem, deal with the perpetrators and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all our foreign students. It is neither fair nor accurate to paint these attacks as the actions of a racist country. Australia has travelled a long way on race. We have gone, in the space of single generation, from White Australia to one of the most culturally and racially diverse societies in the world. Rapid social change has not been without its tensions but, overall, the record is one of impressive harmony. And that is not a journey which can be made by a racist nation.”

Peter N Varghese Australian High Commissioner

Indian students in Australia and India-Australia relations:My article and views.

http://www.foreignpolicy.in/journals_4.html

Inviting your views and comments.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th Jan, 2010