Premier accused of threatening state coal jobs
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk has been accused of threatening tens of thousands of jobs after she questioned if a proposed coal-fired power plant could be blocked on environmental grounds.
The Premier yesterday warned the federal government to "tread very slowly" after it earmarked $4 million for a feasibility study for a "high energy low emissions" power plant at Collinsville, 250km south of Townsville.
"The feasibility study would have to look at a whole range of impacts including what impact that would have on the Great Barrier Reef," she told Sky. "Everybody here knows too that the Great Barrier Reef is not just a national icon, it's an international icon."
Asked whether her comments meant the state could block the project for environmental reasons, she said that power rested in federal legislation.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan seized on Ms Palaszczuk's comments, saying they jeopardised the state's resources industry.
"If Annastacia Palaszczuk is saying that carbon emissions from the Collinsville power station can hurt the reef what does that say for the Queensland Government-owned Stanwell power station, which is actually closer to the reef in Rockhampton?" he said. "What does it say about the five other coal-fired power stations the government owns and what does it say about our gas industry in western Queensland?
"It doesn't matter where the carbon emissions are burnt, whether its 80km from the reef or 800km from the reef, they all potentially have an impact and if Annastacia Palaszczuk is saying that the burning of every molecule of carbon dioxide calls into question the reef and that activity then that calls in question tens of thousands of jobs in Queensland," he said.
The issue is expected to receive more attention today with Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers planning to attack Senator Canavan's "dumb caricature" of Queenslanders as people who "don't care about climate change".
According to prepared notes, Mr Chalmers will tell a Townsville business lunch Queenslanders have a "range of views" on climate and resources.
"But it's not beyond us to find a way to promote new investment in the renewable industry without abandoning our traditional strengths in mining and the jobs and communities it supports," he will say.