Workers in Queensland’s coal mining towns need to learn new skills as demand for the resource drops, the state’s deputy leader says.
In state parliament on Tuesday, Liberal National Party members asked Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her deputy Jackie Trad where they stood on coal.
The government returned serve to question the Opposition about its stance on climate change.
Ms Trad said it was time to help thermal-coal-dependent communities move away from the industry in the face of declining demand.
“The fact is, markets are moving away from thermal coal, communities are moving away from thermal coal, nation states are moving away from thermal coal,” she said.
“What we need to do as a coal exporter is understand that, and equip our communities with the best possible chance of re-skilling, and that’s why we’re focused on other materials.”
The remarks come days after Swiss-based miner Glencore announced it would freeze future production at its current level, and ongoing debate about the future of Adani’s coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington says the state government’s position on coal mining is inconsistent.
“We’ve got the premier standing up and trying to say that she supports the industry but yet won’t let her government approve a mine,” she said.
“We’ve then got the stunning admission from Labor’s own deputy premier that coal workers across Queensland need to reskill.
“It’s just shocking, it’s a real hammer blow to this industry.”
It comes amid reports anti-Adani activist group Stop Adani Alliance gave briefed federal Labor MPs about withdrawing approvals for the Queensland mine due a threat to an endangered bird.