Mine union pressure on Labor
One of Labor’s biggest donors has ramped up pressure for the proposed expansion of the New Acland coal mine to be approved in the face of the Palaszczuk government’s delays on the project.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has weighed in on the Queensland election campaign over the proposed $900 million expansion of the Darling Downs mine, which Labor has delayed approving as it awaits a judicial review of a nonbinding Land Court decision this year that blocked the plan.
Former natural resources minister and current Toowoomba North candidate Kerry Shine has also called for the expansion to be approved, despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying she would abide by the judicial review.
The CFMEU has funded a statewide campaign in support of the expansion and attacked One Nation’s opposition to the plans that New Hope, owner of the mine, says will save the jobs of 780 employees and contractors.
A robocall featuring the voice of CFMEU representative and New Acland mine worker Michael Hartin asks voters not to vote for One Nation.
“What I have to say is pretty simple: One Nation are opposing the expansion of the New Acland coal mine, opposing jobs for Queensland coal miners,” Mr Hartin says in the call.
“You may think I’m joking or got it wrong — trust me it’s true. That means my job and the jobs of 700 others will go.
“It means towns will close, communities will be destroyed.
“So please, do not vote for One Nation, do not vote for a party that is opposed to more jobs for Queensland coalminers.”
The proposed expansion was dealt a blow this year by the Land Court’s non-binding decision against it because of concerns about effects on water supply.
New Hope has warned its mine could close if the expansion — worth more than $8 billion to the economy — does not go ahead.
Ms Palaszczuk and Liberal Na- tional Party leader Tim Nicholls have both indicated they will wait on the review, due in March.
New Hope’s own polling shows more than 70 per cent of voters across several electorates, including Condamine where the mine is located, are in favour of expansion.
Mr Hartin yesterday said One Nation’s stance was a “vote-grabbing exercise” to generate headlines on the back of a vocal campaign from Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones against it.
“We’ve had One Nation come out with Steve Dickson and say they are fully against the mine,” he said. “Polling results show that a majority of One Nation voters are in favour of the mine, in our area. They are concerned about job losses in our community.”
Mr Hartin said former One Nation senator turned Ipswich candidate Malcolm Roberts’s call for a new coal mine near Ipswich was hypocritical.
Mr Shine, a former Beattie government minister, is running for the seat of Toowoomba North, where about 400 mine workers live. He has written to Ms Palaszczuk and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham asking them to support expansion. “It’s been a great job-creating project for Toowoomba and Oakey,” he said.
LNP member for Toowoomba North Trevor Watts said he supported the expansion.
‘Do not vote for One Nation, do not vote for a party opposed to more jobs for coalminers’ MICHAEL HARTIN CFMEU REP AND MINER