COAL CAMPAIGN: The LNP's new billboard on the corner of Fitzroy and Bolsover St, Rockhampton wars of a war on coal.
COAL CAMPAIGN: The LNP's new billboard on the corner of Fitzroy and Bolsover St, Rockhampton wars of a war on coal. Jann Houley

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

A BRAND new LNP billboard stating that Labor had declared war on the coal industry is the latest salvo in an increasingly heated battle over CQ's coal, employment and energy policies.

Standing next to the Rockhampton CBD billboard, the first of many planned to appear around CQ, Resources Minster and staunch pro-coal advocate Senator Matt Canavan said the new sign featuring Labor Leader Bill Shorten holding a #Stop Adani banner, "just speaks the truth".

"Labor has declared war on the coal industry and that would cost jobs in Central Queensland," Senator Canavan said in his promotional video.

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

The Morning Bulletin questioned Senator Canavan and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry on what constituted war-like behaviour given Mr Shorten and Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson's previously stated support for CQ coal mining.


Minister for Resources Matt Canavan at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, February 14, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Minister for Resources Matt Canavan is ramping up the pressure on Labor to clearly declare their support for coal. MICK TSIKAS

"It's a self-announced war from the Labor Party when you have the deputy premier of our state saying how people (in the coal mining sector) are not good enough and have to re-skill," Senator Canavan said.

"The Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler continually talks down the coal industry and says the coal market's collapsing against all evidence about our industry, the biggest exporter in our nation.

"And you've got the Shadow Defence Minister (Richard Marles) of the Labor Party saying it would be a good thing if coal markets collapse.

"I call that a war, we are at war, and we've got to defend our industry and stand up for the jobs that are produced in Central Queensland."

Senator Canavan said while the Labor Party didn't like his approach, the only way he'll stop is if Mr Shorten was to come out and forcefully back the coal industry.

"None of these if, buts and maybes, none of this rubbish 'if it stacks up', I'm sick of hearing these weasel words from the Labor Party," he said.

"They can say they support Adani, make it happen and create jobs for us but they're not doing that so they're at war with us.

"They either support it or they don't, it's been going on for eight years, it's time they make a call."

He said unemployment was hovering around seven per cent in Rockhampton and he wanted to see people get a job.

Ms Landry said Labor had been waging an ever-increasing war on coal for a number of years now.


She said we were seeing this "war-like mentality" in the way that state Labor had toyed around with the opening of the Galilee Basin despite enjoying the fruits of export royalties and fuelling its coal-fired power network.

"Adani and others have continuously jumped the hurdles placed before them and yet still there are further hurdles placed before them," she said.

"There is not a mine in this country with as many requirements placed upon it as the Carmichael mine and the fact the Labor State Government have taken every opportunity to stand in the road of it is reprehensible."

She accused Mr Shorten of changing his position on policy depending on the postcodes he travelled through, saying one thing to placate Central Queenslanders while here, then changing his tune entirely when fronted by Stop Adani protesters in Melbourne.

"You clearly can't take him at his word, because nobody knows which one is true," she said. "Even his candidate has been silenced on his support for the coal sector. Nobody believes Mr Robertson doesn't support the industry that puts bread on his table but somehow he has to be told what to think.

"Central Queenslanders can see through this and are worried about who will pull the strings in a Shorten-led Government."

Ms Landry said she would always stand up for the coal workers of CQ and wouldn't pretend otherwise.

"Central Queenslanders deserve jobs and I believe they should be able to get those jobs without having to leave the state," she said.