Albanese’s push for Mackay made wind turbines, solar panels
FEDERAL Labor Leader Anthony Albanese says regions such as Mackay have "enormous" potential for not only renewable projects, but the manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels.
Mr Albanese, who visited the region on Thursday, said there was scope for developing high-value manufacturing and hydrogen industries in Mackay.
"Why is it that through a port like Townsville, the big imports we are seeing are wind turbines and solar panels? I want to see those things manufactured here," he said.
Mr Albanese said regional areas would stand to benefit most from job opportunities created by changes in the global economy.
"This region - a fantastic place to live, a fantastic place to work - has an incredibly bright future, but only if we embrace the opportunities that are there," he said.
"Yes, give support to existing industries, but also think about the policies that need to be put in place for the growth of new industries."
But Mr Albanese sat on the fence when questioned by Mackay media about his thoughts on the coal sector.
"The demand for metallurgical coal will continue for a long period of time - you can't build a wind turbine without steel, you can't build structures without steel," he said.
On thermal coal, Mr Albanese said if Australian exports were stopped tomorrow, global emissions would rise, not go down.
"The future of thermal coal is determined - in terms of exports - by international demand and that will be a product of the policies of various nation states," he said.
"If you're serious about reducing emissions, which I believe we have to be, then you need to have policies that make a positive difference to that."
Dawson MP George Christensen said he hoped Mr Albanese took the opportunity to speak to locals about the coal sector.
"I hope he speaks with locals about what they think about the establishment of the coal-fired power station in our region and he doesn't just go to the Mackay Conservation Group or some other green group - that he asks locals here who are in the mainstream," Mr Christensen said.