Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on the campaign trail in Maryborough.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on the campaign trail in Maryborough. Blake Antrobus

Let it rip: Schwarten and Johnson on the campaign trail

ROBERT Schwarten and Vaughan Johnson look at the week on the campaign trail:

SHWARTO: It's the four-letter C word that is firing up debate this election campaign. I'm talking COAL, of course.

There are those who see it as being as vital as the air we breathe and the water we drink. To others coal is ruining both.

The fact is while coal mining remains legal, there will be mining applications and most of them will get approved.

Naturally the Greens oppose projects like Adani while firing up their electric cars and using coal-powered electricity pretty much as everyone else does. But it is good they are around to balance out those at the other extreme.

All the other parties support Adani. The only difference is Labor has imposed 278 conditions to mitigate environmental problems.

One only needs to visit Mt Morgan to see the effects of letting mining companies do their own thing.

Also, Labor has refused to put its hands in your pocket to give the billion-dollar foreign-owned company a free ride at the expense of school and hospital funding or infrastructure building.

The LNP has criticised this stance so presumably, if given the chance, they will raid the public purse to subsidise this wealthy entrepreneur.

Premier Palaszczuk has upped the ante further, saying she will veto a loan from the Federal Government to build the rail line.

Again that is what we want to hear. Why should we be giving handouts to companies that strut the world stage and are rolling in wealth?

Either the mine stacks up on the basis of the coal price or it doesn't. If it doesn't, the coal will stay in the ground and probably increase in value anyway.

Coal is not disappearing any day soon but only a fool would turn their back on other energy sources - especially the free clean ones from our burning sun. But that's a whole new debate.

Robert Schwarten is a former Labor government minister.


JOHNSON: There has been much hype these past few weeks about the Adani Coal Mine project in the Galilee Basin.

It's something I've been quiet about since leaving Parliament.

Now is the time to reveal that from day one the general public hasn't been told the real truth about this 'secret deal for Adani' .

Firstly, there was the Abbott Point dredging issue - where would the spoils be dumped? Then the route for the rail line, then the water issue, then the unsubstantiated claims about how many jobs would be created, then Adani went cap in hand to seek financial help from our Federal Government.

They wanted $1 billion, the hide of them!

I'm sorry but this company must come clean, along with the Federal Government, on the facts of this mega project.

There has been too much hurt in the mining industry in recent years with the collapse in market price for both steaming and coking coal, and following fallout on the home front of fly-in fly-out employees.

That all led to the breakdown of family units, bankruptcies, suicides, ongoing domestic violence, mortgages falling over and the ruination of solid communities.

What do governments want? Yes, royalties.

But those in their ivory towers haven't witnessed the human misery that I have over the years.

And more will come if the checks and balances aren't put in place and the real truth isn't told.

Of course some things have to remain in commercial confidence, and I applaud the Queensland Premier for pulling her support of the Federal Government financial support to Adani.

It's a shame the mud throwers are in the gutter muck raking about the Premier and her partner's private life.

I'm sick in the guts about how low people who aspire to leadership can stoop. Dirt thrown is ground lost, and I'm sad to say the Premier has gained ground in this debacle.

Adani won't care about remote Queensland's artesian basin. And aren't we better spending our dollars on rural road upgrades, dams to further promote agriculture and decentralisation, nursing care for our elderly and better education opportunities for rural and remote students?

These projects equate to thousands of jobs too.

Vaughan Johnson is a former LNP MP for the Gregory electorate in Central Queensland.