by Tara Miko
A SMALL band of anti-Adani protestors rallied outside a business and industry meeting this evening, urging Toowoomba to take a stand against its $16.5 billion mega-mine.
Toowoomba Stop Adani co-ordinator Antonia Van Geuns and seven others waved placards and incited a chant outside the Armitage Centre.
Inside the centre, 235 business and industry members from the Darling Downs are investigating how they can get work on the project, or tap into future opportunities.
Ms Van Geuns said a street poll in Toowoomba had indicated the majority of people did not support the mine, and urged local governments and businesses to boycott the project.
"We did a random survey. We did about 170 people with the group we've got here in recent weeks in the CBD and 80 per cent of them said they did not want the mine," she said.
"That's a resounding no from Toowoomba and I think the people with … business in Toowoomba, the local government really need to get behind the people and not let us down."
The protest garnered a measure of support from motorists driving past on Neil St.
Adani media relations manager Ron Watson, speaking ahead of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise event at the Armitage Centre, said the Darling Downs could potentially tap into parts of the company's expansion plans.
Mr Watson said Adani was in the Garden City at the invitation of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise to promote industry, renewable energy and agribusiness opportunities for operators on the Darling Downs.
He said Adani was planning to "expand its operations in this country to include agribusiness", including the export of 1.3 million tonnes of chickpeas from Australia a year.
"Adani is actually multi-faceted including a significant agribusiness," he said.
"Just as an example, we supply one million boxes of apples to food outlets in India every year.
"The plan in the next few years is for Adani to expand its operations in this country to include agribusiness and that will mean, for example, the export from Australia (of) 1.3 million tonnes of chickpeas and similar per year.
"So it's a significant investment that the company will be making in this country.
"We've got two solar farms in Australia at the moment just about to start construction and we are looking for other sites.
"I know the local government areas in this part of the world are very pro-solar farms so we'll be talking to them and we'll be talking to local growers in relation to the food supply."
Mr Watson said the enterprise evening event was closed to media due to "commercial in confidence".
"We've conducted these presentations around the state over the past few months and they have all been in the same frame," he said.
The event was closed to media at the request of Adani.