Albanese talks coal and climate in Emerald
COAL mining and global warming tipped the lips of a circle of Labor supporters headed by the federal opposition leader on Tuesday night.
Anthony Albanese addressed nearly 30 Labor Party members at the Maraboon Tavern regarding election failures and the economy.
He spoke for about an hour. Questions from the crowd were mainly to do with coal mining and climate change, and many thanked Mr Albanese for his four-day visit to Central Queensland.
“Our priority is jobs and security of jobs,” Mr Albanese said. “You’ll never hear the LNP speak about automation and loss of jobs and loss of wages and conditions.
“Wages aren’t keeping up with the costs of living and that makes it tough for people in these regional communities.
Mr Albanese said conditions exacerbating bushfires needed to be dealt with.
“Every single local government area I’m going into is in drought, and that drought means that the fires are much more intense.
“So we do need to act upon climate change. Good policy on climate change will create jobs, lower emissions, and lower prices.
He said he wanted to refocus Labor’s principles and support its traditional base.
“The truth is that Labor does need to stand up for workers.
“There are a lot of jobs available in renewables, but there’s also jobs ongoing in the mining industry.”
Metallurgical coal in particular was “an enormous contribution to the economy”, Mr Albanese said, and global demand would not change by Australia decreasing its exports. Practically, global carbon emissions could rise if poor-quality coal were substituted for Australian coal, he said.
Among the listeners were Labor senator Anthony Chisholm and Central Highlands Regional councillor, Alan McIndoe.
“It’s great to see someone of that calibre touch base,” Cr McIndoe said.
“He’s a grassroots player and his background and previous portfolios put him very close to regional Australia.”
Cr McIndoe felt that Mr Albanese tackled the core problems of the region.
“He reassured that coal would be around for many, many years in one form or another. I also spoke with him about the increased requirements for aged living in regional Australia.
“I think he’s well on top of the big issues that we need to address.”
Mr Albanese left for Rockhampton on Wednesday morning.