Chris­tensen ad­vo­cates for coal

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

FED­ERAL Mem­ber for Daw­son, Ge­orge Chris­tensen, be­lieves coal pro­duced by Queens­land min­ers could help lift mil­lions of peo­ple out of poverty.

Mr Chris­tensen ad­vo­cated pas­sion­ately for the coal in­dus­try in par­lia­ment last week, say­ing more than a bil­lion peo­ple around the world lived in en­ergy poverty and lives were put at risk by “ex­treme green” at­tempts to shut the coal in­dus­try down.

He said min­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Queens­land had abun­dant re­sources “and some of the clean­est coal in the world”.

“So it would ap­pear to be a fan­tas­tic win-win sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“It is a great shame and an in­dict­ment on the ex­treme greens that hav­ing en­joyed all the benefits of the industrial re- vo­lu­tion and cheap en­ergy for decades, the poor­est peo­ple in the world are be­ing told to stay in poverty.”

Mr Chris­tensen’s com­ments are likely to anger those op­posed to the devel­op­ment of the Galilee Basin and ex­pan­sion of Ab­bot Point, with the Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety’s (AMCS) Great Bar­rier Reef cam­paign direc­tor, Felic­ity Wishart, re­cently ac­cus­ing him of ig­nor­ing the mes­sage from vot­ers at the Queens­land elec­tion.

“Ge­orge Chris­tensen should stop try­ing to dredge up sup­port for the in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the reef and ac­cept the view of the ma­jor­ity of Queens­lan­ders who want it kept safe,” Ms Wishart said.

“The Queens­land elec­tion was a ref­er­en­dum on the fu­ture of the reef – and Queens­lan­ders over­whelm­ingly want the nat­u­ral icon and the tourism jobs that rely on it pro­tected.”

Ms Wishart also crit­i­cised Mr Chris­tensen’s pro­posal for a del­e­ga­tion travel to Bris­bane for a meet­ing with new Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk, to ar­gue in favour of the Ab­bot Point port and rail ex­pan­sion.

“Mr Chris­tensen is stuck de­fend­ing the New­man mantra that Queens­land is ‘in the coal busi­ness’, when many in his elec­torate and the Queens­land com­mu­nity have a more so­phis­ti­cated view,” she said.

“The times have changed in Queens­land [and] it’s time Ge­orge Chris­tensen got with it and started work­ing to se­cure a safe fu­ture for the reef and tourism.”

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