Coal jobs welcome on Albo's ALP pilgrimage

Anthony Albanese talks jobs, nation-building on WQ whistlestop

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Members of the Barcaldine ALP branch turned out to greet Anthony Albanese, ALP Senators and shadow ministers when they paid homage at the Tree of Knowledge. Photos supplied.

Members of the Barcaldine ALP branch turned out to greet Anthony Albanese, ALP Senators and shadow ministers when they paid homage at the Tree of Knowledge. Photos supplied.

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Pitching a message in contrast to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his 'quiet Australian' supporters, federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese called upon the ghosts of angry shearers more than a century ago to give voice to the dissatisfaction he said was being felt in the bush, when he dropped in on Barcaldine last week.

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Pitching a message in contrast to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his 'quiet Australian' supporters, federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese called upon the ghosts of angry shearers more than a century ago to give voice to the dissatisfaction he said was being felt in the bush, when he dropped in on Barcaldine last week.

Mr Albanese, accompanied by opposition Regional Services and Local Government spokesman Jason Clare, and Senators Nita Green and Murray Watt, the opposition spokesman for Northern Australia, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, made the symbolic birthplace of the Labor Party the first stop on his regional Queensland tour.

Standing before the Tree of Knowledge, Mr Albanese declared that jobs were the number one issue facing regional Queenslanders, which, when compounded by drought and the casualisation of the workforce, meant people didn't put down roots in a community.

Read more: Thousands celebrate shearers' strike 125th anniversary

Questioned about the jobs potential of the Adani mine, he said he welcomed jobs for Queenslanders in whatever project they were in.

"The fact is that Adani has received its environmental approvals.

"Once that's done, it's up to the private sector to determine whether they will make that investment.

"It is a much smaller project than what they originally envisaged.

"But the truth is as well that unemployment in outback Queensland and regional Queensland is higher than it is in terms of the national figures."

Federal opposition spokesman for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Jason Clare, opposition leader Anthony Albanese, Queensland Senators Nita Green and Murray Watt, also the opposition spokesman for Northern Australia, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management at Barcaldine's Tree of Knowledge.

Federal opposition spokesman for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Jason Clare, opposition leader Anthony Albanese, Queensland Senators Nita Green and Murray Watt, also the opposition spokesman for Northern Australia, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management at Barcaldine's Tree of Knowledge.

Mr Albanese identified opportunities for economic growth around some of the state's other high value resources such the rare earth and lithium deposits in the north west, which he said should have value-adding and manufacturing potential tags.

As far as western Queensland being able to take advantage of these ideas, he said business overheads were much less in the country.

"Thanks to new technology, labour is less as a percentage of production costs, so those costs become less than 30 years ago.

"Transport is a cost but the land costs more than compensate for that."

Beginning the roll-out of broadband in regional Australia was all part of the ALP's plans to ensure those parts could overcome the tyranny of distance, he said.

While not aware of the latest plans for the 'new Bradfield' water storage and irrigation scheme, Mr Albanese called for better use of water resources and said any proposal deserved examination.

It was the vision of the people who began the Australian Labor Party more than 125 years ago that transformed the country with ideas such as the Snowy Mountain Scheme and the Trans-continentail Railway, he said, and that vision and leadership was what governments should be providing.

"They should work on plans that are practical and make a difference," he said. "When it comes to water, we've got to take those ideas seriously."

Questioned about bushfires and claims that people hadn't been able to prepare adequately with reduction burns, Mr Albanese said planners could learn a lot from indigenous Australians, who had looked after the land for a long time.

"There have always been fires, but they are starting earlier and they are more intense," he said.

The opposition leader and entourage also visited Emerald, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast on their Queensland tour.

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