Canavan's challenge to Bill Shorten: "Back coal"

Matt Canavan has a straightforward challenge for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten: back coal.

Senator Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, said there was only one topic Central Queensland mining communities like Emerald and Blackwater wanted to hear Bill Shorten explain today: Why doesn’t federal Labor support the coal industry?

“Mr Shorten is touring Queensland in a big red bus,” Minister Canavan said. “He should just come clean and paint it green. More and more, the Labor party acts like an affiliate of the Greens.”

Minister Canavan said, in the recent sittings of Federal Parliament, Labor Senators had voted unanimously with the Greens in a motion against the coal industry.

“In the Senate, the Greens moved a motion that, quote, ‘thermal coal … has no long-term future in Australia’.

“Every Coalition Senator in the chamber voted against the Greens motion and in favour of the coal industry, in favour of coal communities and in favour of coal families. Every Labor Senator there voted with the Greens against the coal industry.

“Queensland Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm voted against the coal industry. Queensland Labor Senator Chris Ketter voted against the coal industry. Queensland Labor Senator Claire Moore voted against the coal industry. Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt voted against the coal industry.

“So, every single Labor party Senator in Queensland voted against the coal industry, against coal communities and against coal families.

“A Greens-Labor vote like that in the Australian Parliament will cause genuine concern for their futures amongst families in the coalfields and adjacent towns and cities.

“Mr Shorten can’t come to CQ without explaining why Labor won’t support the coal industry, why Labor States are shutting down coal-fired power stations – even when that means bigger electricity bills and bigger blackouts – and why Labor politicians won’t back a coal-fired power station for North Queensland.

“The Coalition position is crystal clear: we back coal. Labor doesn’t.”

Minister Canavan said there had been another collective Greens-Labor attack on the coal industry last month in the report of an inquiry they ran with the idea of encouraging coal-fired power stations to be shut down in Australia.

“The Greens and Labor Senators on the committee of inquiry supported a shutdown. By contrast, the Coalition Senators produced a dissenting report 100 per cent supporting the coal industry.

“The Coalition Senators said the majority report did not adequately or fairly reflect the evidence presented and represented ideologically-driven conclusions. That pretty well sums up the Greens and Labor: they are ideologically opposed to coal.

“The Labor-Greens’ opposition to thermal coal in particular would directly impact the Blackwater area, which produces thermal coal for use in the Stanwell coal-fired power station near Rockhampton and for export.

“If the Greens-Labor push to reduce mining and use of coal in Australia was ever successful, communities like Blackwater would be devastated.

“More than that, the entire Australian economy would take a mighty hit. Communities in coal-mining centres like Emerald and Blackwater are making a vital contribution to the economic well-being of the whole nation and we in the Coalition want to see that prosperity continue to be generated.”

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