THE Greens’ plan to shut down the coal industry has been met with anger from Paget business people, who say the move would destroy our region.
Greens leader Bob Brown’s policy to phase out the industry would result in 200,000 jobs lost across Australia, but Commercial Mine Recyclers owner Peter Bourke said it wouldn’t just be the coal industry that would suffer.
“We support CQ Rescue with sponsorship each year to save lives – all these services that depend on us, if they don’t have the funds, they won’t survive either,” Mr Bourke said.
G&S Engineering Mackay chief executive officer Mick Crowe said shutting down the coal industry was only possible if every Australian was willing to accept a lower standard of living.
“If you said 100 years from now there won’t be a coal industry, that might be believable, but it’s disrespectful to Australians for a politician to stand up and say that’s an option inside 40 years to live to first world nation standards without coal or nuclear power,” Mr Crowe said.
“It’s especially disrespectful if the same politicians are travelling around in a motor car, living in a house with steel in it and air-conditioning.”
Mackay Area Industry Network board chairwoman Julie Boyd said there was a level a concern about projects that were depending on the outcome of the carbon tax debate.
“Clearly, from a regional perspective (shutting down the industry) would be very devastating – I don’t believe there is any other alternative for the production of steel and energy so until there is a huge investment in other ways to make steel for developed nations like China and India we need the coal industry to continue.”
Mrs Boyd said while the natural disasters and the Global Financial Crisis were definite hurdles for the industry, the long-term outlook was much more positive.
“There’s little doubt our region got through the GFC reasonably well and the mining industry continued to power on,” she said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the state owed its living to foreign investment in our resources sector and continued massive re-investment in its projects and people.
Mr Roche said Queensland minerals and energy companies put more than $61 million into the pockets of employees and local Queensland businesses every day of the year.
“This injection into Queensland sees the resources sector maintain a 21% share of the state’s economy and employ one in every eight Queenslanders,” he said.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Mackay region would “become a deserted wasteland” under the extreme policies of the Greens.
“(Greens politicians) have made it clear they want to shut down mines, agriculture, industry and fishing,” he said. “They don’t want you to drive a car. They don’t want you to have air-conditioning. They don’t want you to have lights in your home. They don’t even want you to have a job.”