Hundreds turn out for Galilee Basin rally
MEN, women and children turned out in the hundreds to rally support for the 'Go Galilee Basin' campaign at Mackay Regional Council's lawns Saturday morning.
It was the second second event of its kind held in Mackay and the effort this time was to send a firm message to candidates seeking election on May 18, that support for the resources sector will determine votes at the ballots.
Organiser of the For the Future of Our Regions event, Resource Industry Network, believed it was important to ensure the community understood where political opponents were positioned when it came to a plan for the future of mining in the region.
RIN director Mick Crowe addressed the crowd - most dressed in black 'Go Galilee Basin' tees - and said it was important to make sure voices of support for the resources sector were heard in the lead up to the election.
"Our industry needs to be seen for what it does and for the good of the community it supports," Mr Crowe said.
"All the parties need to be aware, that if they don't back mining - mining doesn't back them. It doesn't matter who you vote for, this isn't political. We're here today for the benefit of our town - 50 per cent of our jobs, 43 per cent of our GDP - comes from mining."
High-profile attendee, Adani chief Lucas Dow, was in the crowd and said he was there to support RIN and the positive work it was doing in Mackay.
Get Real Workwear and Safety director Emma Price spoke to the crowd from the viewpoint of a business owner whose family and extended family could potentially lose their livelihood if the Galilee Basin becomes closed for business.
"Our business is locally owned and operated, my husband's mother works for us, my dad has come out of retirement to work as our delivery driver. We originally opened in the downturn with three staff and now we employ 19 workers. If the mines in the Galilee Basin do not go ahead it will greatly affect our business as well as our family," Mrs Price said.
"I was here during the last downturn and so many families had to leave because there was no work here. And it had a flow-on effect from the hairdresser and the corner shop to the local butcher. It's not just the miners or the CEOs who run the mines, it's the whole community."
When Mackay mayor Greg Williamson took to stage, he told the crowd he wasn't happy about "Bob Brown's crusade coming up from Tasmania to protest throughout Queensland".
"The worst producing state in Australia comes up to Queensland, one of the primary producers of Australia, to tell us how we need to be running business? It's divisive," Councillor Williamson said.
"We need to keep Australia's lights on, while we work out how to keep our lights on in the future."
Mr Crowe said the rally was not a protest about whether they build a new coal mine, but whether the industry had a future or not.
"This is about sending a very clear message to every political party of what we want for our region," Mr Crowe said.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story contained a representation of events that has been questioned. This story has been altered until further information can be obtained.