Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, Treasurer Cameron Dick, Ziggy's CQ Engineering general manager Jeff White and Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane tour the Ziggy's premises. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, Treasurer Cameron Dick, Ziggy's CQ Engineering general manager Jeff White and Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane tour the Ziggy's premises. Picture: Melanie Whiting

There’s no doubt we are on Labor’s radar this election

LABOR'S views on mining during last year's Federal Election were as wishy-washy as they come.

While there might have been private support for the mining industry locally, there must have been clear directives from ALP headquarters to not commit on the record to new mines like Adani's Carmichael project.

ALP federally was courting the votes down south with scant regard for an industry that has proved vital to our economy during COVID-19.

The almost 12 per cent swings toward George Christensen in the seat of Dawson and Michelle Landry in Capricornia proved fatal for the party.

The Nationals MPs have joked they owe their success to Bob Brown's convoy of anti-Adani protesters trying to tell people in coal country how to suck eggs.

Six months out, many believed there was no way Labor could lose with Bill Shorten photoshopped into memes of Steven Bradbury's ice skating win at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

But by six weeks out, it was clear in North Queensland it was going to be a tough feat but Labor still didn't change tack.

Just days after that disastrous result for Federal Labor, the Queensland Government came out strong.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was here in Mackay demanding a timeline for the Adani project to get the ball rolling.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre) with Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert in Mackay demanding a timeline to get Adani rolling. Picture: Caitlan Charles
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre) with Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert in Mackay demanding a timeline to get Adani rolling. Picture: Caitlan Charles

"Enough is enough," she said of the processes causing delays in the Adani approval process.

Ms Palaszczuk also apologised on behalf of Queensland Labor, for the Federal election result.

"I'm sorry Labor let you down, I'm sorry that happened," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"But I'm not going to let Queensland down. I am always going to stand up for this state and people know my fundamental commitment to this state and the people that are employed in all of the different sectors of the community that contribute to growing our state."

The following month, Adani got the green light.

 

Carmichael Coal Mine in September 2020, well under way. Picture: Cameron Laird
Carmichael Coal Mine in September 2020, well under way. Picture: Cameron Laird

Labor learned very quickly how much North Queensland's votes matter; that they can influence an election outcome.

This week Queensland Labor has committed to the Olive Downs mine and there are rumours New Acland Stage 3, held up in a long-running legal battle, could be closer than we think.

Now the State Government has promised to review the regulatory process for future resource projects to ensure a "streamlined" approach.

The commitment was outlined as part of the government's pledge to deliver a Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, if re-elected.

 

More stories:

First look at Australia's most controversial mine

74% believe killing coal jobs risks other jobs: survey

FULL LIST: Every winner at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards

 

It shouldn't take an election for clearly needed red-tape reforms but it will be music to the ears of the Mackay region population, many of whom rely on the mining industry for their livelihoods.

With both the major parties throwing their support behind our biggest industry, we have an interesting fight on our hands this election.

And given Labor has already rolled out ministers Kate Jones, Cameron Dick, Mark Bailey, Steven Miles and the Premier in the past month - there's no doubt we are on the radar.

 

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