Bill Shorten on Glad­stone’s fu­ture

The Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Lees chris.lees@glad­sto­neob­server.com.au

THE Port Ac­cess Rd, Na­tional Broad­band Net­work and sort­ing out en­ergy are key to Glad­stone’s fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Op­po­si­tion Leader who was in town yes­ter­day.

ALP leader, Bill Shorten was in Glad­stone to tour the North­ern Oils bio­fu­els plant which opened in June and to talk to the com­mu­nity and lo­cal lead­ers about jobs at a fo­rum held yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

He claimed that if La­bor had been elected at the last elec­tion, the long-awaited Port Ac­cess Rd would have been built and he was crit­i­cal of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment for the im­pact of high en­ergy prices on busi­ness and peo­ple in the re­gion.

“The real prob­lem is that Mr Turn­bull looks at ris­ing en­ergy prices as an­other po­lit­i­cal prob­lem,” he said.

“He doesn’t un­der­stand how painful it is for or­di­nary Aus­tralians and busi­nesses to have ris­ing out of con­trol en­ergy prices.”

Mr Shorten ad­mit­ted en­ergy re­tail­ers needed to do more, but said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needed to do the same.

“At the mo­ment there’s in­suf­fi­cient in­vest­ment in en­ergy be­cause there’s a lack of policy cer­tainty,” he said.

“What we need is a clean en­ergy target, we’ve ex­tended the hand of com­pro­mise to the gov­ern­ment.

“If it’s a fair dinkum clean en­ergy target ... then we’re up for work­ing with them to see how it can be done.”

Mr Shorten said he’d been vis­it­ing Glad­stone for two decades and the city was never afraid to roll its sleeves up and bid for jobs.

“You’ve got a lot of strengths here, you’ve got a highly skilled work­force, you’ve done it tough no doubt,” he said.

“We’ve seen lots of fam­i­lies leave the area, but you are quite a di­ver­si­fied econ­omy.

“What we need to do is make sure you’ve got good in­fra­struc­ture, re­li­able NBN and of course down­ward pres­sure on en­ergy.”

Mr Shorten listed Rio Tinto’s re­finer­ies, NRG’s power sta­tion, the port, Ce­ment Aus­tralia’s op­er­a­tions, North­ern Oil’s Ad­vanced Bio­fu­els Pilot Plant, tourism and be­ing a ser­vice cen­tre for min­ing fur­ther west as the re­gion’s strong points but he said it was im­por­tant to get more ap­pren­tices back into the re­gion.

He stressed that young peo­ple needed the chance to pur­sue a ca­reer and a fu­ture through a qual­ity ap­pren­tice­ship.

In re­sponse to Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd’s com­ments

(see right) Mr Shorten said the num­ber one cause of ris­ing en­ergy prices was a lack of policy cer­tainty.

❝ At the mo­ment there’s in­suf­fi­cient in­vest­ment in en­ergy be­cause there’s a lack of policy cer­tainty. — Bill Shorten

PHOTO: CHRIS LEES

IN TOWN: Fed­eral Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten at the North­ern Oil’s Ad­vanced Bio­fu­els Pilot Plant in Yar­wun with project and op­er­a­tions man­ager, Shaun Brice.

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