In the dark on Adani deal
The Palaszczuk government’s special royalty deal with Adani remains secret after Treasury blocked a Right to Information request. 2000 pages relating to the ‘clear’ and ‘transparent’ royalty framework were almost entirely redacted. Public servants expressed concerns about analysing the deal after it has been offered.
The Queensland Treasury has refused to release the royalty subsidy deal with Adani, requested under Right to Information (RTI).
The RTI request sought the deal with Adani and the new “transparent” royalties framework under which the deal was offered.
The Queensland government offered Adani a royalty deferment deal, a form of subsidised loan. While Premier Palaszczuk refused in estimates to use the words “loan” or “subsidy”, it is equivalent to a loan and the cost of any subsidy cannot be verified as the terms of the deal are not public.
Treasury entirely redacted its letter to Adani offering the royalty deal. Treasury released only a reply from Adani’s CEO, agreeing to the deal.
As a result of this rejection, the deal with Adani is totally secret. There is no information about the terms of the Adani deal, the interest rate or repayment schedule, and only unsourced reports of the amount of the loan.
The request for the “royalty framework” returned 2000 pages of correspondence and documents. Almost all of it was exempted or redacted from release.
The Queensland government has described this framework as “transparent”.
One of the few pieces of correspondence not released shows the Chief Economist at Department of Natural Resources and Mines asking an Advisor to analyse the deal, after it has been offered. The Advisor says they “don’t wanna go there”, referring to previous experience with Adani by saying “It just gets ppl absolutely tangled up”. The Chief Economist says they are “Not interested in adani’s numbers just want to confirm our understanding”
The Australia Institute has reviewed of the RTI request, lodged by Energy Resource Insights and listed on Treasury’s disclosure log.
The Palaszczuk government has repeatedly promised it will not subsidise Adani, including both. But the government now plans to give two different subsidies – from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, and now in a secret royalty deal.
 Swann (2017) Palaszczuk’s promise, see PDF below