COAL SUPPORTERS: Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson and leader Bill Shorten at last year's town hall meeting in Rockhampton.
COAL SUPPORTERS: Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson and leader Bill Shorten at last year's town hall meeting in Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK210218ashorten

Labor backs the coal industry and rubbishes LNP's coal 'war'

FOLLOWING the LNP's accusation of Labor waging a war on coal, Labor leader Bill Shorten has hit back accusing the coalition of being divided, chaotic, and had run out of ideas.

"We can expect their scare campaigns to become more ridiculous as we get closer to the election," Mr Shorten said.

READ: New LNP billboard accuses Labor of waging war on coal, jobs

A regular visitor to Central Queensland, where he has hosted of four large public town hall meetings in the region since the 2016, Mr Shorten said his message on coal has remained consistent.

"Coal is part of our energy mix going forward and will be so into the foreseeable future," he said.

"Mining has a future - not just coal but the exports of the future like hydrogen, lithium and rare earth minerals.

"Queensland is always going to be a great mining exporter and I want that to continue."


Labor leader Bill Shorten at the Bundaberg Bowls Club for the town hall meeting to share his ideas to advance Australia.
FIRED UP: Labor leader Bill Shorten has rejected the LNP's assertion that he is at war with the coal industry. Mike Knott BUN210119BILL3

In January he was quoted in Rockhampton saying, "Coal will have a future in Australia. It must. And anyone who says there's no future for coal is kidding themselves and kidding the Australian people".

"I want to put on the record that the resources is not just coal but indeed LNG, and hard rock, metalliferous mining, has been part of what good news there is in the Australian economy at the moment with their exports, particularly into North Asia.

"So we are going to keep exporting coal - that's just a fact - and no matter of people saying otherwise is going to change that.

"We're still going to use coal in our energy mix in Australia as well."

Speaking on individual mining projects, he said they had to stack up to proceed.

"It's got to stack up legally, it's got to stack up environmentally, it's got to stack up commercially," he said.

"I'm not in the business of picking winners in the coal industry. But what I won't do is be deterred from investing in renewable energy as well."

Labor's Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson, a third generation coal miner who has dug coal for over 25 years, said he too supported opening up the Galilee Basin to mining provided the demand existed and projects met their commercial and environmental obligations.

"This industry is not about political point scoring, it's my and many other families livelihoods," Mr Robertson said.

"I want our region to be focussed on the types of resources and industries that will support the jobs our local economy needs for the future.

"Central Queensland is home to some of the best metallurgical coal in the world. The demand for this sort of coal will continue to increase with the growth in Asia, including the middle class in India which is set to grow rapidly from up to 80 million today to 580 million people - or about 41 per cent of the population - by 2025.

"That means more secure jobs for Central Queenslanders, which is my number one priority. But the other side of politics seems more interested in playing political games than backing local jobs."