German engineering company Siemens says it will stick with its Adani rail project contract in Central Queensland despite the pleadings of climate activists.
After weighing the facts and consulting with third parties, the company had decided to fulfil its contractual commitment and deliver the signalling technology for the Carmichael coal mine’s rail network, it said.
But Siemens chief executive officer Joe Kaeser said it had been a real challenge to balance between a very legitimate matter of global importance and a fact-based economic and legal assessment based on his fiduciary and management duties.
The issue had prompted the company to establish a Sustainability Committee with external members to give environmental concerns even more priority and attention in the future, he said.
“I do realise most of you would have hoped for more,” he said in a statement. (Read full statement HERE)
“While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders, as long as they have lawful legitimation for what they do.”
Mr Kaeser said there was practically no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract (reported to be worth $29 million) without neglecting fiduciary duties.
“However, given the importance of legitimate environmental concerns, we have secured the right to pull out of the contract if our customer violates the very stringent environmental obligations,” he said.
Mr Kaeser noted that there were competitors for the contract who would happily supply the equipment, meaning a decision by Siemens to pull out would not have stopped the mine project from going ahead.
Regional support for Carmichael mine
He also cited a letter from Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan who said “the Australian people clearly voted to support Adani at the federal election in May 2019, especially in regional Queensland”.
Senator Canavan argued that it would be an insult to the working people of Australia and the growing needs of India to bow to the pressure of anti-Adani protestors.
Mr Kaeser said approvals for the Carmichael coal project came after a strict regulatory and decision-making process including from the highest courts.
Galilee Blockade has been among those lobbying Siemens to pull out of the Adani contract and accuses the firm of trashing their billion-dollar reputation for a $30 million contract.
“Their reckless indifference to the suffering of Australians will be judged harshly, now and in the history books,” the group stated.
Senator Canavan today hailed Siemens’ decision as a great outcome for Australian jobs – and a loss for the loud minority who tried to bully others.
“One of the strategies used by the anti-job activists was to publish the names and personal details of Siemens staff – so it’s particularly good that such reprehensible behaviour hasn’t paid off,” he said.