Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Townsville MP Scott Stewart at flood affected Oonoonba State School Picture: Shae Beplate.
Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Townsville MP Scott Stewart at flood affected Oonoonba State School Picture: Shae Beplate.

MPs demand action on Adani in regional rebellion

A REVOLT is under way in North and Central Queensland, as regional Labor MPs unite against senior leadership, demanding the Adani project issue is resolved immediately.

The MPs' call to action comes months after significant lobbying from businesses and community stakeholders.

Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper and Townsville MP Scott Stewart confirmed they were part of a block of Labor MPs pressuring Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her deputy Jackie Trad.

It comes after a watershed moment for State Labor, following the disastrous rejection of the party at the federal election.

Mr Aaron Harper Member for Thuringowa, during Queensland Parliament Question Time, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Mr Aaron Harper Member for Thuringowa, during Queensland Parliament Question Time, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

 

"Regional members have united and sent a clear message to our senior leadership, that we need the Adani issue resolved as quickly as possible, to get back on to (the message of) delivering infrastructure," Mr Harper said.

"That narrative of Adani should have never been the narrative for the federal election - it hurt regional Queensland no doubt."

Mr Harper acknowledged that Adani needed to acquire the necessary environmental approvals but said: "I want it done, I want it approved."

Mr Stewart said MPs had been meeting and talking with ministers, the Premier and Ms Trad, but their voices had been "well and truly" heard in the aftermath of the election. "The Premier has heard well and truly the voice of her regional members, including myself, that we need to just get this decision made on Adani," he said.

The shift in rhetoric is notable after the refusal of Mr Harper, Mr Stewart and Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke to sign a pledge by Townsville Enterprise calling on them to support the immediate opening of the Galilee Basin.

It is understood MPs in Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone have also put pressure on the Premier regarding Adani.

It comes as Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, who is visiting a string of regional cities, criticised the State Government for failing to listen to disenfranchised voters.

"The people of Queensland sent a very clear message to Annastacia Palaszczuk on the weekend, they are sick of her failing government … people in the regions are sick of it," she said. "The Premier needs to stop governing for West End (in Brisbane), and ensure she's governing for the whole of Queensland."

 

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander at a post election media conference at Government House this morning. Brisbane 19th May, 2019 AAP Image/Richard Gosling
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander at a post election media conference at Government House this morning. Brisbane 19th May, 2019 AAP Image/Richard Gosling

Senior Labor figures have also called out the State Government leadership for not tackling the Adani issue.

Former parliamentary speaker John Mickel said it was baffling that they had allowed the Carmichael mine to overtake messaging. "Certainly that one issue will need to be dealt with," he said.

Ms Palaszczuk has distanced herself from the fractious role of Adani in the election, saying voters could differentiate between national and state election issues.

A spokesman for the Premier yesterday said voters were concerned about jobs regardless of whether they were in Brisbane, regional Queensland or nationally.