Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan. Picture: Joseph Mayers
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan. Picture: Joseph Mayers

Jobs up in smoke under Labor plan

THOUSANDS of Queensland miners and workers at coal-fired power stations face forced redundancies under Bill Shorten's plan to reduce emissions, Resources Minister Matt Canavan warns.

The outspoken Queensland LNP Senator will be in Mackay today, demanding Labor give a "full explanation" of its $8.5 million Just Transition Authority, set up to deal with "inevitable future (coal-fired) station closures" and help regions diversify their economy.

"Labor wants to create jobs in a new bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to wind up jobs in our coal mining regions," Senator Canavan told The Courier-Mail yesterday.

"Labor has promised to ­create a Just Transition Authority, which would have the power to implement pooled redundancy and redeployment schemes for workers in coal power stations and associated mines.

"By the sound of it, the Just Transition Authority will be as much about justice as the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is about democracy."

A spokesman for Labor said it did not support forced or early closures of coal-fired power ­stations, but needed to ensure there were no more unplanned closures.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan. Picture: Joseph Mayers
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan. Picture: Joseph Mayers

It comes as Labor's climate change spokesman Mark Butler was recorded during a climate change forum in NSW late last month reaffirming his position that he does not want Adani or any new mining in the Galilee Basin to go ahead.

"It's not that I don't support the Adani project alone, I don't support any project in the Galilee Basin,'' Mr Butler said.

"I think the idea of opening a new thermal basin is contrary to the national interest."

Senator Canavan said the Labor Party did not seem to care about how devastating a coal market collapse would be for central Queensland.

"Bill Shorten must make clear the devastating impact the closure of coal mines would have on Queensland workers and regions like Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville."

Labor's spokesman said coal-fired power stations had a natural life.

"They age. It's impossible for ageing stations to stay open forever, and stupid to pretend they can,'' the spokesman said.

"Seventy-five per cent of coal-fired power stations are already operating beyond their original design life.

"Hazelwood closed without any plan from the government, which hurt workers and communities. We will not let that happen.

"The Just Transition Authority ... is not all that's available for workers. We are investing billions in infrastructure and energy projects to create jobs.