One of coal mining’s biggest sceptics in federal politics has yielded to industry pressure and fully supported the economic benefits of a $21 billion mining development in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
Anthony Albanese appeared to totally change his stance towards coal, saying he supported the 8200 direct and indirect jobs Adani Australia will create through its Carmichael Coal Project, 160 km northwest of Clermont.
“In terms of the Adani mine that has been approved it is a good thing that those jobs are being created,” he told a Queensland Media Club luncheon at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre according to SBS News. “I support jobs regardless of where they are and that is a very good thing.”
Backlash prompts backflip
The backflip came after the federal Labor opposition leader was harshly criticised for comparing the future of coal fired power generation to his belief in mythical animals.
“You may as well ask me if I support unicorns,” he said earlier according to the Australian Associated Press. “I do not think there is a place for new coal fired power plants in Australia, full stop.”
New Hope Group (NHG), which has retrenched dozens of staff due to length delays in approving its $896 million New Acland Stage 3 Coal Project, congratulated Albanese on his change of heart.
“I think it was really encouraging to hear Anthony Albanese say the Adani coal mine was a very good thing and that the jobs created from that approval for regional Queensland was a very good thing,” NHG chief development officer Ben Armitage told the broadcaster.
“[New Acland] could be made critical if the approval is not forthcoming because the reality is we will be making 150 people redundant around the time of the next election.”
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However, it is still uncertain whether the Australian Labor Party would support more coal mine development.
“Labor is selling the message that it is for regional Queenslanders but do not expect any new coal mines to be approved,” Griffith University senior lecturer Paul Williams said.