An engineering, and project management consultancy has been slammed as “weak as piss” after it gave in to activist demands to stop working on a $21 billion coal project in Central Queensland.
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has called Aurecon a “bunch of bedwetters” and “weak as piss” for deciding to end its 20-year-long relationship with Adani Australia for all of its projects, including the controversial Carmichael Coal Project.
The departure takes effect as soon as Aurecon completes its work on the Abbot Point coal terminal.
The withdrawal comes after the Australian Conservation Foundation repeatedly targeted executives at several companies with contracts for the project. About 30 Stop Adani protestors stormed the foyer of GHD’s Brisbane CBD office on August 8.
‘Too weak’ to admit bullying
Aurecon did not say whether activists harassed any of its staff and instead explained the change of direction was due to the company’s commitment to “sustainability”.
“To come out and try to wrap it up as a ‘sustainability’ decision, give me a break,” Canavan told ABC Radio according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Canavan believes Aurecon should admit it was bullied into resignation.
“I’d have a lot more respect for Aurecon if they came out and were just up front and said: ‘Look, we can’t do this because we’re under pressure and we’re just too weak,'” he said.
Local jobseekers impacted
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said the real victims in the continuing standoff with activists are local jobseekers.
“Ultimately every company can make its own business decisions, but it’s local workers who will miss out through the lost opportunities of working on new investments and new resources projects,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said according to AAP. “It’s disappointing to see any business give in to bullying tactics from activists, many of who are acting illegally to disrupt lives and businesses.”
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‘Strike a balance’
The Business Council of Australia (BCA) supports some sort of mutual agreement between businesses, communities and activists.
“It’s important their voices are also heard in the debate,” BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott told AAP. “We can’t lose sight of what Australians outside the major capital cities want in their regions, and that’s to strike a balance between investment, jobs and the environment.”
Adani was surprised by Aurecon’s depature and is already looking for a replacement.