Anne Majumdar

A Queensland operator has handed back a tourism award sponsored by Indian mining giant Adani whose mega mine project is considered a major threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

Providence Sailing scooped the award at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards held last month.

Although delighted at the recognition, the company initially expressed dismay at the sponsorship. After stewing it over, it has since made the decision to return the award.

“This is to let everyone know we are handing back the bronze Tourism Whitsundays award for Major Tour and Transport category,” the company wrote on its Facebook page at the weekend.

“We were absolutely dismayed that Adani was allowed to sponsor these awards.”

Providence Sailing

“We have formally handed back the award and have been assured that Adani will not ever sponsor other tourism awards in the Whitsundays. However we still feel this one was contaminated as it goes against everything we stand for.”

If it goes ahead, Adani’s $21.7bn Carmichael mine near Rockhampton will be one of the biggest coal extraction projects ever seen. It is expected to generate 128 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. That is the equivalent of a quarter of Australia’s total emissions from fuel combustion.

Image credit: Greenpeace

Image credit: Greenpeace

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the project saying it offers “huge economic benefits” for Australia. During the construction phase, Adani will inject around $21 billion into the Queensland economy and create around 10,000 jobs.

However, the project is expected to significantly contribute to climate change, with the impact on the Great Barrier Reef thought to be considerable.

“Millions of tonnes of seafloor will be dredged in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to construct massive coal port expansions.”

Greenpeace

“Hundreds more coal ships will pass through the Reef, heightening the risk of accidents and oil spills and negatively impacting coral at a time when the health of the Reef is already in decline.”

In March, Adani admitted to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that it had released more than eight times its licenced concentration of pollution at Abbots Point.

Although it dodged a hefty multi-million dollar penalty, it received a $12,000 fine, which it subsequently challenged.

READ: Why wombats are digging this ultra-luxe resort

READ: Great Barrier Reef recovery takes an unexpected turn

What do you think of Providence Sailing’s decision?