Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan has condemned Labor for siding with the Greens this morning in an attempt to vote down a motion supporting workers at the New Acland coal mine.
“It is to Labor’s eternal shame that it has worked with the Greens to vote against a motion in the Senate today which recognised the importance of Queensland’s resources sector and the New Acland coal mine, and called on the Queensland Government to not allow its approval processes to be delayed by judicial activism,” Minister Canavan said.
“The Labor-Greens alliance has given New Acland mine workers a collective kick in the guts.
“It is even more disappointing to see Labor abandon Queensland workers for the sake of keeping the Greens happy. That is not a path any mainstream political party should start down.
“Governments have a critical role to play in approving mining projects in a timely way and should not be held hostage by those who seek to weaponise the law.”
Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh echoed the criticism, saying local workers and the entire community of Oakey had been in limbo for 12 years.
“These hard working people have lived with constant uncertainty about the security of their jobs, and the ongoing viability of the New Acland mine,” Dr McVeigh said.
“The Queensland Labor Government should be doing more to resolve this long-running dispute and put the security of local jobs first.
“Oakey is a resilient community but after more than a decade of indecision around the mine’s future and the added stress of many years of drought, the town and our region deserves the respect of the Queensland Government. They simply must get on with the job of clearing the way forward for local jobs and families.”
I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move that the Senate notes;
i. That the resources industry is critical to the Queensland economy, contributing 1 in every 8 jobs in Queensland and $4.3 billion in royalties shared across the state of Queensland,
ii. The New Acland coal mine has been seeking approvals for their Stage 3 expansion since 2007, which would extend the mines life until 2031 and increase production from 5.2 million tonnes to 7.5 million tonnes per annum,
iii. The New Acland coal mine is vital for the Oakey economy, currently employing 300 workers with dozens more servicing the needs of the mine site,
iv. That recently, the mine has reduced its staff from 300 to 150, due to 12 years of delays in receiving the necessary approvals, and,
Calls on the Queensland Government to not allow its approvals process to be delayed because of judicial activism.
Media contact: Kate Barwick 0408 072 809