Why Labor can’t be trusted over coal jobs promise
MUCH will be made in this election campaign about Labor's commitment to coal jobs and propping up regional economies. It's Alice in Wonderland stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Labor is anti-coal. It is run by the Left faction and alongside the Greens, they have a plan to phase out coal and hit renewable targets by 2030. Forget the $5 billion the government receives each year from coal royalties. This is about renewables and lunacy ideology.
Does anyone really believe that if Bill Shorten was Prime Minister right now that the Adani project would have proceeded? Let's not forget the Palaszczuk Government's epiphany about Adani and the black-throated finch on May 19 last year.
Could it have had something to do with miners abandoning Labor in federal seats like Capricornia, Dawson, Herbert and Flynn? They all voted against Labor because "shifty'' Bill Shorten couldn't lie straight in bed when it came to coal jobs. With Shorten losing the unlosable election because of Central and North Queensland, that sent Queensland Labor into a panic and with the stroke of a pen the problems with the black-throated finch were solved within 24 hours. Whooshka.
Adani was given the green light and it's up and running, creating hundreds of jobs as we speak. Yet the Palaszczuk Government refuses to approve Stage 3 of the Acland coal mine at Oakey, with 600 jobs at risk. If anybody needed proof that Labor was still determined to wipe out coal mining in Queensland, let's take a closer look at the so-called "Just Transition'' group, a departmental body set up by the Palaszczuk Government and funded over four years with $5 million,
The Just Transition group's job is to "develop and oversee pooled redundancy schemes for workers in coal powered stations and associated mines''.
It is a statutory body with a remit to work with companies, workers unions, local communities and government to:
- develop and implement transition plans for affected regions, including economic rediversification;
- develop and oversee pooled redundancy schemes;
- develop and implement labour adjustment packages.
Labor's position was confirmed as recently as December last year when Federal Opposition climate change spokesman Pat Conroy reaffirmed the ALP's commitment to Just Transition. Labor's policy says the Bowen Basin "is necessary to a Just Transition scheme''. The CFMEU's mining division is not impressed.
Its district president Steve Smyth told a parliamentary hearing:
"I'd like to know what the members I represent in places such as Moranbah, Tieri or Middlemount are going to 'just transition' into.''
It was former Treasurer Jackie Trad who said that coal miners must learn to "re-skill''. "What we need to do as a coal exporter is understand and equip our communities with the best possible chance of re-skilling,'' she said.
Smyth described Ms Trad's comments as "reckless, inappropriate and out of line and not everyone is going to have a beard and live in Mackay, Middlemount or Moranbah'',
Let's be clear. The role of Just Transition equates to job losses in the state's mining industry. There are 52,000 direct coal jobs in Queensland and 319,000 indirect jobs. That's the population of Hervey Bay directly employed in mining and the population of the Sunshine Coast indirectly employed.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the traditional blue collar vote - and the election. For Queensland Labor to keep singing to the tune that it is pro-coal is disingenuous. It needs to tell the truth. They are as green as Kermit the Frog.
Originally published as Why Labor can't be trusted over coal jobs promise