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Adani fight 'not over': protesters

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Conservationists have accused Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of "selling her soul to big coal" during a protest to mark the arrival of Adani global head Gautam Adani in Townsville.

Ms Palaszczuk will on Tuesday meet with the mining and energy boss to formally announce the north Queensland city as the headquarters for the $21.7 billion Carmichael mine, which won final approvals this week.

About 150 protesters gathered outside the Tobruk Memorial baths ahead of the meeting to accuse the government of jeopardising the Great Barrier Reef's future.

"Since she sold her soul to big coal, very sorry Palaszczuk," the group sang.

Former deputy mayor Vern Veitch feared future generations would not be able to enjoy a healthy reef.

"We have a responsibility to the rest of the world to lead the way and show how it can be done - to use our money to develop renewable energy, not to dig coal out of the ground," he said.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham on Monday pointed to 200 "stringent" conditions on the project and insisted it was possible to enjoy both economic prosperity and protect the reef.

Marine biologist Jennifer Cooper said that notion was "delusional" because burning fossil fuels directly contributed to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"How are you going to stop CO2 entering the ocean once it's in the atmosphere?" she said.

Ms Cooper said reducing runoff from farming would merely buy the reef time.

"I don't think you can compromise on an ecosystem, it doesn't work by our rules."

Despite the government announcing construction on the mine would begin in the middle of next year, the protesters insisted the fight was not over.

"I think as long as there are a lot of people that believe in protecting the land and keeping in its natural state the fight will continue," said Aunty Carol Prior, of the Juru tribe.

Ms Prior, who is from a breakaway group that does not approve of the mine, does not believe cultural sites will be adequately protected by Adani's plans.

"You bring shame on your people by destroying a race of people here in Australia by taking away their sacred site and their spiritual connection to the land from which we've come," she said.

Retired Bowen Basin coal miner Stephen Bulloch believed the figure of 10,000 jobs quoted by Adani was a myth and claimed the company's mine would be an "intensely-mechanised" project.

"It's an ecological disaster in the making," he said.

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