Labor sends mixed messages on coal
QUEENSLANDERS working in thermal-coal mines should start reskilling now to prepare for the decline of the industry, according to Treasurer Jackie Trad.
In a move that further distances the State Government from coalmining, Ms Trad used Glencore's recent cap on thermal and coking coal production to illustrate the industry's changing economy.
"The fact of the matter is, economics is moving away from thermal coal, communities are moving away from thermal coal, nation states are moving away from thermal coal," she said. "What we need to do as a coal exporter is understand that and equip our communities with the best possible chance of reskilling, and that's why we're focused on other materials."
But Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said Queensland would remain a coal exporter "for many, many years to come", even if international demand for thermal coal plummeted.
"Queensland has the world's highest-grade metallurgical coal, so if the focus (on thermal coal) goes elsewhere Queensland will still be a world-leading exporter in terms of coal, especially of metallurgical coal," he said.
Dr Lynham rejected suggestions recent campaigns waged by environmentalists against Adani and thermal coal projects were damaging investor confidence in Queensland.
"All I can see is positivity in the resources sector here in the state," he said.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Ms Trad's comments would send a "shiver down the spine of every Queenslander".
"We saw the stunning admission from Labor's deputy premier that coal workers in Queensland need to reskill," she said.
"That is so out of touch."
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Leanne Enoch was yesterday unable to say when a decision would be made on Adani's controversial black-throated finch management plan, which is one of two plans the State Government is yet to approve.
"Putting this in context, understanding, that there are about 8000 environmental authorities that my department take care of," she said.
It comes as One Nation candidate for Capricornia and fourth-generation bird breeder Wade Rothery claimed the bird was easy to breed, and the species was more under threat from feral cats and foxes than mining.
"If it wasn't for feral cats and foxes, the numbers would be much higher," he said.
"When you consider the average feral cat can kill anywhere between five and 30 animals each day, we're staring down the barrel of mass extinction for many native species here in Australia."
A Department of Environment spokesman said there were two species of the black-throated finch, southern and northern.
"The southern subspecies is listed as endangered in Queensland and nationally whereas the northern species is not," the spokesman said.
"The site of the Carmichael coalmine is considered to be the site of the most significant population of the southern subspecies in Australia.
"This is why it is imperative that the mine's operators satisfactorily address the conservation and protection of this species in its natural habitat, and why this requirement is written in the operator's environmental authority."