Queensland Resources Council boss Michael Roche has criticised Opposition leader Bill Shorten for not coming out in full support of the state’s coal sector during an interview with ABC Brisbane on Wednesday.
Shorten, speaking with Steve Austin on ABC 612, was asked, “Does the Australian Labor Party support coal mining?”
After roughly a second of silence, the Opposition leader responded: “Ah…yes. We think coal mining is part of the energy mix going forward.”
Roche’s view of that response? Not good enough.
“That was as positive as Mr Shorten could be about the Queensland coal sector that delivered last year, directly and indirectly, 183,000 jobs, spent $12 billion buying goods and services from 11,000 Queensland businesses and delivered $1.6 billion royalties to the Queensland government,” Roche said in a heated press release on Wednesday.
“Yesterday the Queensland Resources Council called on Queensland workers whose jobs depend on the resources sector – an estimated 360,000 of them in Queensland – to back candidates who will support their industry, their jobs and the livelihoods of their families.
“We did so following statements from political candidates, particularly ALP candidates, who were demonising coal and saying they did not support new coal projects such as the Carmichael mine.
“This morning was the perfect opportunity for the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten to clarify the ALP’s position …”
“Mr Shorten’s response said it all.”
Roche also criticised the Opposition leader for refusing to back the Carmichael coal mine and rail project, “even though the people of Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton are desperate to see that project proceed”.
Carmichael, which is being developed by Indian energy giant Adani, would include construction of a new 189 kilometre rail line to connect the mine to the Goonyella system.
Carmichael coal would be exported from Hay Point and Abbot Point.
“The voters in Herbert, Dawson and Capricornia will take note,” the Resources Council boss concluded.