Premier faces howls over Adani mine at town hall meeting

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was interrupted by protesters who chanted and later broke into song. Photo: Tammy Law
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was interrupted by protesters who chanted and later broke into song. Photo: Tammy Law

Opponents of Adani's vast new Queensland mine have howled at the premier after she told them they would not stop coal mining in the state.

Protesters interrupted Annastacia Palaszczuk's town hall meeting in Cairns on Tuesday night, chanting "no, no, no" in opposition to the mine.

But the Premier told them jobs were vital and coal mining would not cease in Queensland: "Coal is going to be a part of our energy mix for many years to come," she said.

"Rubbish!" the protesters howled in reply.

They later interrupted the meeting by bursting into song.

The Premier's comments came on the same day her government announced a plan to fight climate change and help protect the Great Barrier Reef by cutting Queensland's carbon emissions.

The plan includes aims to "de-carbonise" the state's emissions-intensive energy sector.

But while that plan is being executed in Queensland, Adani will be allowed to mine and export the state's coal so it can be burned in India's power stations, with India to account for those emissions.

Mine opponents, climate activists and reef scientists say new coal mines like Adani's simply could not be allowed to proceed when the dire state of coral reefs worldwide was already well documented.

This week, former US vice-president and climate action campaigner Al Gore implored Australia not to build the mine, saying there was a choice to make between a huge new coal mine and the Great Barrier Reef.

Last month, former Australian Institute of Marine Science chief scientist Charlie Veron, credited with discovering 20 per cent of all coral species, said federal approvals for the Adani mine must be overturned.

"Coal mining is the number one danger to coral reefs now in the whole world. If we wipe out coral reefs, we are going to crash the ecologies of the oceans," he told the ABC.

AAP