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