The Labor Party is killing jobs in Central Queensland, Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan said today.
“The Labor Party is bad news for jobs in this region,” Senator Canavan said.
“Labor won’t support development of the Great Keppel Island resort, is taking away the livelihoods of commercial fishermen and refuses to help the Federal Government reign in environmental activists blocking jobs in stalled mining projects.
“Labor Party politicians are proving to be job-killers and I can’t understand why they are behaving this way when we have so many young people in particular looking for work.”
Senator Canavan said unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds is 14% in Rockhampton, even higher in Mackay at 14.4%, across the outback it is over 15%, in Townsville it’s almost 20% and in Cairns it tops 22%.
“Up to 10,000 jobs generated by development of the planned Adani Carmichael mine would directly benefit communities like Alpha, Bowen, Clermont, Emerald, Mackay, Moranbah, Rockhampton and Townsville but that project has been further delayed by court action by activists who don’t live anywhere near the planned mine.
“Activists have a strategy to delay and disrupt development of new mines – including by time-wasting court action – but Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler says Labor will oppose the Federal Government’s legislation aimed at making it harder for activists to deliberately delay mining projects and desperately-needed jobs.
“On top of that, Labor want to impose a new carbon tax and shut down coal-fired power generation in Australia, a policy that will cost thousands of jobs that rely on coal mining and the cheap energy it provides.”
Senator Canavan said he was at a loss to understand why the State Labor Government is refusing “point blank” to grant a boutique gaming licence for Great Keppel Island and why it is persecuting professional fishermen.
“If a boutique gaming licence will potentially unlock development of a new resort and provide 1,500 new jobs, why would Labor deny this opportunity for CQ businesses and families, especially young job-seekers?
“And Labor is stubbornly pushing ahead with plans to put at least 50 fishermen out of work in Rocky, Mackay and Cairns through new net-fishing bans but producing no proof whatsoever there will be any benefits to make up for the obvious loss of income to the regions and the personal distress caused to the families involved.
“In mining, tourism and primary industries, Labor is turning out to be an absolute job-killer.”
Senator Canavan has called on State Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne to stop using the federal-state Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to implement three new fishing bans.
“In a media release yesterday, Mr Byrne again said the bans had to be imposed to meet a commitment in the Reef 2050 Plan.
“This is a complex, 100-page document to which both the Commonwealth Government and the Queensland Government have made contributions,” Senator Canavan said. “Following the State election on January 31, the new Queensland Government inserted an extra action item that referred to establishing three net-free fishing areas.
“In the draft Reef Plan released late last year, the previous State Government proposed an action item to ‘complete Queensland’s fisheries management review and implement measures to achieve and maintain sustainable commercial and recreational fisheries’.
“The new Government deleted this and replaced it with a new action item: ‘Establish three net-free fishing zones in north and central Queensland: Trinity Bay, Cairns; St Helen’s Beach-Cape Hillsborough, north of Mackay; and Yeppoon-Keppel Bay-Fitzroy River, Capricorn Coast’.
“A cynic might suggest the main benefit of this was to provide a ready-made excuse to implement what are purely political fishing bans.
“Under the headings of ecosystem health, biodiversity, heritage, water quality, community benefits, economic benefits and governance, the plan makes a total of 139 separate recommendations. Let me repeat that: 139 separate recommendations.
“To suggest that UNESCO would give Australia a “fail” mark on our management of the 2,300-km-long, 300,000 square-kilometre Great Barrier Reef because this action wasn’t ticked off and fishermen weren’t banned from catching fish around Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton is simply a nonsense.
“If he wants to try to justify destroying seafood industry jobs and putting local families on the dole queue, then the Queensland Minister needs a better defence than saying ‘The Reef Plan made me do it’.”