MP re­sponds

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY NEWS AND VIEWS -

FOR­MER Greens can­di­date, Tony Fontes, took ex­cep­tion in his let­ter (WT 10/10/13) when I wrote about the “rav­ings of the ill-in­formed and the ex­trem­ist green move­ment”.

Surely those us­ing the reef as a weapon to shut down min­ing are ex­trem­ists.

In the 2013 elec­tion cam­paign, the Greens can­di­date ad­mit­ted his party would sup­port Ab­bot Point’s port ex­pan­sion if it were not to ex­port coal.

I sus­pect Tony Fontes, a re­cent Greens can­di­date him­self, is more con­cerned about shut­ting down all min­ing than any per­ceived im­pact on fish­ing or tourism.

I main­tain that peo­ple who want to stop the Ab­bot Point port ex­pan­sion for the sake of stop­ping all min­ing are ex­trem­ists.

Most peo­ple un­der­stand that global coal con­sump­tion would be un­changed even if Aus­tralia stopped all coal ex­ports.

The only dif­fer­ence would be the mas­sive boost to jobs and in­comes in other coun­tries at the ex­pense of Aus­tralian fam­i­lies.

It is jobs, the econ­omy and com­mu­nity liveli­hoods that have seen sup­port for the Ab­bot Point port ex­pan­sion come from quar­ters such as Whit­sun­day Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment, Bowen Tourism, Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, Bowen Collinsville En­ter­prise, Mackay and Whit­sun­day Re­gional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Mackay Area In­dus­try Net­work, Bowen Cham­ber of Com­merce, and Mackay Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Gen­uine con­cerns about tourism, fish­ing, and the en­vi­ron­ment can be al­layed by be­ing a part of the process and most stake­hold­ers are do­ing just that be­cause they sup­port the project.

I per­son­ally of­fered to sit down and dis­cuss any con­cerns with Mr Fontes and other tourism op­er­a­tors in Air­lie Beach.

Main­stream tourism op­er­a­tors took up the of­fer but Mr Fontes didn’t show.

In­stead, he chose to run a defam­a­tory half page ad­ver­tise­ment in the lo­cal news­pa­per in Air­lie Beach that in­sin­u­ated I was “on the take” for push­ing for the Ab­bot Point port ex­pan­sion. Mr Fontes can ex­pect le­gal ac­tion as a re­sult of that pub­lic as­ser­tion.

Ge­orge Chris­tensen MP MEM­BER FOR DAW­SON

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