State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has called on the Palaszczuk Government to prove its position on the future of the state’s resource sector.
Mr Katter’s calls follow comments made yesterday by Treasurer Jackie Trad that coal miners “need to re-skill” because markets, communities and nation states are “moving away from coal”.
In 2017/18 coal royalties contributed a record-breaking $3.8 billion to the State Government’s budget.
In total the resource sector contributed $4.3 billion for the year.
During Question Time yesterday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would not be drawn on coal but repeatedly declared her Government was a supporter of the state’s resource sector and a proud proponent of creating regional jobs.
Mr Katter, whose vast Traeger electorate encompasses the zinc, copper, lead and silver-rich North West Minerals Province (NWMP), said this sentiment needed to amount to more than just words.
“The Palaszczuk Government has now well and truly established their position in opposing coal mining in the Galilee Basin,” Mr Katter said today.
“Despite some half-hearted local attempts to disguise this, the party heavies rule at the end of the day and they have spoken.
“It’s ok if they have that view that “it takes all types” but we just have to be honest with the public and either enjoy the benefits of coal mining or understand the consequences.
“If the Labor State Government want to demonstrate that they’re not anti-mining, they need to finally give some attention to the NWMP.
“There have been studies paid for by the Government which tells all stakeholders what we already know and have already been saying – everyone knows what the problems are, they just need fixing.
“The rail line business needs a complete overhaul, or we’ll turn around in another 10 years and the Chinese will have built the rail line from Mount Isa to Tenant Creek so that the minerals all go through Darwin rather than Townsville.
“I for one, will fight this happening but it will only be stopped if the Government chooses to help.”
Mr Katter said despite the many meetings he has had with the government on this matter, there had been no tangible action.
“The Copperstring Project has enormous ability to boost capacity and increase Townsville jobs, however it has formerly lacked support from the State Government and is now seeking support again after both times having support from Federal
Governments (both Labor and LNP).
“Finally, water storage is the key to any progress from Townsville all the way to Mount Isa.
“Development in this regard is essential to any progress however the State Government has always been nothing but a road block – pandering to the ‘Lilypad Left’ in Brisbane who don’t want us to build anything.
“If there is a debate on whether Labor supports mining or not, it is in the interest of Townsville people to know that lack of attention to these issues will result in severe damage to the Townsville economy.
“I’m sick of being the lone wolf trying to advance the interests of the NWMP, which is as much a part of the Townsville economy as it is for Mount Isa.”