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Shorten is all ears during Emerald visit

BILL BUS DROPS BY: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with Labor candidate Zac Beers at the Emerald Saleyards on Thursday.
BILL BUS DROPS BY: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with Labor candidate Zac Beers at the Emerald Saleyards on Thursday. Rebekah Yelland

SETTING out on his first trip around Emerald, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was in town to "listen” to people.

The day visit was part of the Bill Bus tour around Queensland as he campaigns against penalty rate cuts.

"We are on a listening tour of Queensland, we're very committed, being the opposition you take the opportunity to form policies for government and so we are out listening to people,” he said.

"Too often in Australian politics, politicians talk at people and they don't do enough listening to people.”

The trip has coincided with touring towns affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie, visiting Bowen, Proserpine and Airlie Beach, with the hope of visiting Rockhampton today, depending on flood levels.

"I know the tropical cyclone is good in terms of water but it's been very tough for the people obviously who are in the brunt of it,” Mr Shorten said.

"It's important that people, when natural disasters hit, know their political leaders are aware of their situation and are not oblivious and are there to support them.”

During his tour of the town, Mr Shorten visited the Emerald Saleyards, spoke with councillors and dropped in for a jobs forum in Emerald with local business and community leaders.

Mr Shorten also had a health round table with local doctors and nurses before travelling to Blackwater for a town hall meeting.

"I'm looking forward to meeting with some of the leaders in the community to hear about their ideas about an inland port and other things they think the community needs,” he said.

He was also willing to talk with councillors on the topic of the Adani Carmichael Mine, which he said still needed consideration.

"Well, on one hand if there's an opportunity for good, well-paying jobs then you grab that with both hands,” he said.

"Of course, it has to stack up scientifically and commercially.

"The other mining companies aren't asking government for a billion-dollar loan so Labor doesn't believe federally we should be providing more taxpayer money.

"The deal should stack up but if it does, then we are very happy about that.”

Discussions on infrastructure was also on the cards for the visit.

"We would like to see what they would like in infrastructure,” Mr Shorten said.

"I get the importance of roads, I think this is a very fertile area of Australia and not just cattle, obviously, but table grapes, citrus, macadamias and it has the opportunity to help feed Australia and provide food for the rest of the world.

"You need to make sure the infrastructure is keeping pace with the effort the farmers are putting into theland.”

Topics:  blackwater emerald


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