Queenslanders support Labor promise to veto loan to Adani, poll says

A majority of Queenslanders support premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s promise to veto a potential federal government loan for the Adani coal project, according to polling by the Australia Institute ahead of the state election.

The finding supports evidence from interviews with voters with some who are strongly in favour of the mine itself opposed to it being subsidised by the government.

In the new polling, more than 61% of respondents said they thought the opposition LNP leader, Tim Nicholls, should follow Labor and also promise to stop Adani from getting the loan.

The figure was nearly triple the number of respondents (21.3%) who thought Nicholls should promise to give the loan to Adani. Just under 11% of respondents said they weren’t sure and 6.5% said he should do neither, according to the ReachTEL poll of about 2,181 Queenslanders conducted earlier this week.

When told if the money did not go to the Adani rail project it could “become available for other Queensland industries like agriculture, tourism and renewable energy”, 63.4% of respondents said the money should go to other projects.

There was support for Labor’s policy in both north Queensland and south-east Queensland, the poll found, with opposition to the federal loan only slightly weaker in the north.

Earlier this month, Palaszczuk made a surprise announcement that she would veto any loan to Adani from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (Naif).

Palaszczuk said the dramatic move came in response to what she believed was a federal Coalition plan to “smear” her and her partner, Shaun Drabsch, over his role in Adani’s loan application to Naif.

“The veto of the loan to Adani is a win for north Queensland as the decision frees up funding to support other projects already in the pipeline across other industries that are more jobs-rich and more sustainable,” executive director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, said.

The Guardian spoke to several people in Queensland this week who said they supported the mine but didn’t want it to get government subsidies.

Henry Wilson from Townsville was typical: “The mine would be great for the young blokes, get them into proper full-time work, get them some skills. But I don’t think we should pay for the rail line.”

Oquist said: “Whatever people think about the mine, it is clear that Queenslanders overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer subsidy to support its construction,” said.

“The Queensland government’s role in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility means it is able to redirect this money away from Adani into other projects, in industries like tourism, agriculture and renewable energy.

“It makes good economic sense, and this poll shows it makes good political sense as well,” Oquist said.