LNP blames Shorten for different party's mining policy
A SHOCK Bill to ban coalmining in Queensland - killing off 20,000 new jobs - will be used as rallying cry to lure voters back to the LNP and turn pressure back on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The influential Minerals Council of Australia has slammed proposed laws by the Greens that not only deliberately target the operations of mining magnates Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Adani, but also make it illegal to dig up thermal coal in the Galilee Basin.
A federal parliamentary inquiry has been set up to evaluate the Bill, which will place further pressure on Mr Shorten to declare whether he supports Adani and opening up further coalmines in the state.
The Greens put forward laws to ban mining during the last days of a hectic and chaotic Parliament.
The Office of the Chief Economist has estimated projects in the Galilee will create 18,275 construction jobs and, once developed, 14,533 operation jobs.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said jobs would be lost and the viability of entire regional communities would be threatened if the legislation passed.
Ms Constable said the "sabotage" would not only hurt those who worked or wanted to work in the mining industry, but frontline public service workers, whose wages were in part paid by mining royalties.
In a blunt assessment to the inquiry, the MCA said stopping better-quality Queensland coal from being mined would increase, not decrease, carbon emissions as miners were forced to seek poorer-quality coal elsewhere.
"The proposed Bill would have a significantly negative economic impact on the local community and Queensland through the opportunity cost of thousands of jobs and multibillion-dollar direct investment," it said.
"Queensland's current unemployment rate is the highest in the nation. The Galilee Basin projects deliver vastly improved job prospects in regional Queensland."
The MCA implied the Bill was unconstitutional, and accused the Greens of trying to make a political statement.
"Given the strong demand for thermal coal, Asian markets will obtain thermal coal from other
suppliers such as Indonesia, which generally have lower grade of thermal coal than Australia," it said.
"Therefore the proposed Bill may have the perverse outcome of encouraging the use of a less energy efficient and but more emissions intensive source of coal."
Labor has been accused of speaking with two tongues in regional Queensland and inner-city seats in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
However Mr Shorten will come under further pressure during this year's election campaign to outline in greater detail whether he supports new thermal coalmines and whether, if he won government, his new proposed environmental agency could stop Adani's Carmichael megamine from going ahead.
Greens senator Larissa Waters' explanatory memorandum of the Bill states: "(The legislation) would prohibit the mining of thermal coal from the Galilee Basin in Queensland.
"This Bill would have the effect of ensuring Adani's Carmichael coalmine could not proceed, nor could any other coalmine proposed for the Galilee Basin, including those by companies controlled by Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart."