Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on a recent tour of Central Queensland.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on a recent tour of Central Queensland. Rebekah Yelland

Shorten strikes back over Adani and Queensland jobs

OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten has hit back after drawing fire from the conservative side of the aisle over his stance regarding Adani and Queensland jobs.

Mr Shorten was accused of attempting to hold the Greens at bay in the by-election for the Melbourne electorate of Batman by claiming he had become increasingly sceptical about the economics Adani proposal in recent months and questioning whether people doing it tough in regional Queensland were being "led on with the promise of fake jobs".

He also raised environmental concerns for the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Artesian Basin and the potential for jobs to be threatened in other mining regions if the Adani mine went ahead.

After copping criticism for a perceived anti-jobs stance, Mr Shorten moved to reaffirm job creation as one of his priorities for regional Queensland.

"My number one priority for Queenslanders is jobs. It always has been and it always will be," Mr Shorten said.

"I've held 16 public town halls throughout regional Queensland, listening to thousands of locals about what's important to them. I don't just fly in and fly out like Turnbull attending invitation-only events.

"I've spent a lot of time on the ground, getting to know these communities and their priorities.

"I know communities like Townsville and Rocky need new jobs and new infrastructure, and that's exactly what I want to deliver."

He said he didn't believe in putting all your eggs in one basket.

"We can't rely on an overseas billionaire, whose company misses deadline after deadline, to deliver all the future jobs in Queensland," he said.

"The Government needs to get involved in job creation and that's what I will do if I'm elected Prime Minister.

"I'm working on a major jobs plan for regional Queensland - jobs for Gladstone, Townsville, Mackay, Rocky and Cairns."

He said they would be long-term, secure jobs that are tied to infrastructure projects, backed by government investment.

"We've already committed $100 million to ensure Townsville's water security and $200 million for a hydroelectric generator at the Burdekin Dam," Mr Shorten said.

"And we are signing up to other local projects like the South Rockhampton Flood Levee to deliver more local jobs."