Belinda Hassan at the 2019 Dawson Debate in Mackay.
Belinda Hassan at the 2019 Dawson Debate in Mackay. Emma Murray

Hassan defends Labor's stance on mining

ANNOUCNED only days before the election was called, the Federal Government's approval of the Adani groundwater management plan did not escape the candidates at the Dawson Debate.

Labor's Belinda Hassan was under the biggest microscope, with questions still being raised about the party's commitment to mining.

"I feel this whole Carmichael Mine project has become a political football," she said. "The incredible timing we saw this week with the approval of their water licence which is a strategic (move).

"I suppose there may be some concern whether that was done with a rush through."

She assured the community present Labor had no plans to close mines or fire any workers.

"The mining industry had decades to run before even some of the mines here come to the end of their natural life," Ms Hassan said.

She added Labor were interested in diversifying the country's power future, but this did not mean coal mining was not a priority of the party.

George Christensen, current member for Dawson, said the project had been approved following extra checks and balances from the environment minister, Melissa Price, and was not rushed through.

Colin Thompson, United Australia Party candidate, said he could understand why people were asking so many questions about the Adani approval.

"It's been delay after delay," he said. "The community is right to (ask) questions."