Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan MICK TSIKAS

Coal is what we do to "make a buck”: Senator

ROCKHAMPTON-based Senator Matthew Canavan has taken to talkback radio this week to defend the coal industry against those who just "don't live in the real world".

Mr Canavan appeared on Steve Price's 2GB radio breakfast program this morning to discuss the mining and energy sector hitting a record $204 billion this year.

"You get a lot of commentaries sometimes - particularly from people who live a long way from where these mines are - suggesting that we can just get rid of it and move on as if nothing has changed," Mr Canavan said.

"Well, if we did that, if we shut down our mining sector, hundreds of thousands of people would lose their jobs, and then there'd be massive flow-on effects of course as well.

"It's just what we need to do to make a buck. That's the real world, that's real life."

Mr Price is a familiar face on Channel 10/WIN, where he frequently represents the 'right wing' perspective on evening news program The Project.

Both agreed on the senator's position on coal, and its role to play in the country's economy and employment rates.

This is despite Commonwealth Government employment projections suggesting that employment growth in the state for the remainder of the decade will come overwhelmingly from the services sector, as well as health and tourism.

"So there's been a lot of commentary that the mining boom has ended. Well, what has ended is those large capital projects that were going while prices were very high. But the production of mining commodities, of coal, of iron ore, of LNG soon as well, has never been higher in this country," Mr Canavan said.

"And where I'm talking to you from - I'm up in Central Queensland - we need jobs.

"Our unemployment rates in some of my towns around here are more than 10%. And this is really good news for the mining sector."

Mr Canavan has long battled for the coal industry, particularly in support of the newly promised Adani Carmichael coal mine and against environmentalists.

In the past, GetUp, Greenpeace, The Greens Party, and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) all condemned the mine.

"It's really frustrating for people up here in particular, because we live and breathe it. I live in a town (Yeppoon) where there's lots of drive-in drive-out coal mine workers," Mr Canavan told Mr Price.

"We understand that we need this industry to give people the money they need to put their kids in a good school, or own their own home."

Australia Institute chief economist Dr Richard Denniss has publicly opposed the mine, speaking to both the ABC and in 2016.

He indicated the employment projections from Adani had been inflated, and said stopping the development of new mines in Australia would be "very good" for the country.

"There are well over 150,000 unemployed people in Queensland, there is no scenario that building new coal mines will solve Queensland's employment problem, especially when new coal mines harm the tourism industry in both the short term and the long term," Mr Denniss said.

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