August 16, 2019
I’m Still a Believer!
In my newsletter in March this year, I wrote of Jackie Trad that “When someone shows you who they are - you should believe them, the first time!”
That was after she told Parliament coal miners should start re-skilling.
Did the federal election change her mind?
The Courier Mail reports that she promptly wrote to the federal treasurer demanding all state and federal treasurers sign up to a new Clean Economy Agreement that would “put a handbrake on new coal mines and heavy industry”.
With her private deals and political schemes, it is becoming clear that our Treasurer does not have regional Queensland’s best interests at heart.
Shutting Down Coal Means Shutting Down Coal Towns
For Gregory it is not just argy-bargy. CQ will bear the greatest brunt of the Treasurer’s anti-coal crusade.
The Palaszczuk Government has already punished our agricultural industries in a way that defies belief.
Now it would appear they are doubling down against coal and industry. If their track record is a guide, this will be what they call a “whole of government” approach.
Blackwater – Queensland’s Most Productive Little Town?
Take the Gregory town of Blackwater. Our neighbours in Isaac Shire often highlight that they produce nearly half of Queensland’s coal royalties. But if you calculated per resident, Blackwater must come close to topping the list of most productive little towns in Queensland.
What gratitude does it receive? The Bligh Labor Government tried to turn it into a donga camp. The Palaszczuk Labor Government neglects the services needed by residents.
Google an image of the Blackwater Hospital …
That tells you all you need to know. This facility is supposed to cater to a town which is a major contributor to the prosperity of all Queensland. There is no investment planned in Jackie Trad’s budget, this year - or in the next four years.
A Sinking Feeling at Blackwater High
Meanwhile Blackwater State High School had been working on plans for a new STEM building to replace their old manual arts block, which is sinking and cracking due to subsidence.
Pathway to Prosperity
With great vision, the school community wanted to seize the opportunity and make their school a major pathway into mining jobs. This should be a natural advantage for Blackwater families and is supported by the Queensland Resources Council.
No Money, No Plans
Well, we better hope that manual arts block doesn’t fall down, because there was no money in this budget and no money planned for the next four years.
I have written to the Education Minister asking her to review the situation, but Treasurer Trad would have to approve the investment.
Blackwater TAFE Course Concerns
About the same time, I was contacted by a Blackwater constituent with fears about the future of his TAFE course. He is in the first year of a four year course to qualify as a High Voltage Electrician.
This is a specialised trade with employment in the mining and energy sectors. This is exactly the type of vocational course where Blackwater has great employment opportunities.
If Blackwater people can’t get the qualifications, those roles will go to drive-in/drive-out workers from city locations.
Now I am told the Blackwater course is under threat because of teaching vacancies.
Just Transition … Away from Coal and Industry
With just a hint of sarcasm, I can say Labor hasn’t completely shunted the coal miner. Thanks to the persistence of the LNP’s Fiona Simpson at Estimates, we found out that Minister Fentiman is heading up a multi-departmental committee known as the Just Transition Group.
Apparently, they are going to reskill coal miners and get them clean, green jobs.
Already Under Way
There are five public servants working full time in the Just Transition unit. They are busy selecting an Advisory Committee. This Committee will be appointed by Labor and will include academics, unions, and representatives from other government agencies.
This means more public servants; even though we have divisions already employed to do this kind of work – Jobs Queensland, for example.
I believe they are also looking for community and business representatives, so local government and mining companies will feel they have to join in the caper, or not be consulted at all. They will have to help shut down mining.
Taxpayers’ Shout, Of Course.
So far, the Just Transition Group is costing a million dollars a year, nearly $5 million over 5 years. I can’t decide if this is way too much, or further proof of trickiness. It’s hardly enough to reskill tens of thousands of miners.
What it means, without a doubt, is that we have an elected Labor Government who see their mission as demolishing Queensland’s economic foundations.
You Can’t Just Clip the Ticket
A wise man once said to me that so many modern jobs are just “clipping the ticket”. He meant jobs where nothing is actually produced or real value added.
Speaking of our debt he said, “Lachlan, that’s fine. But at the end of the day, to pay the bills and invest for the future, someone actually has to produce something – in the real world - that other people will pay us real money for. Ticket clippers are always with us, but we put the primary producers out of business at our peril.”
Thank You For Reading
Thank you for reading my Gregory letter. If you have an issue to raise, you can contact me by return email or by calling my Emerald Office (07 4913 1000) or Longreach office (07 4521 5700).
If you are new to the newsletter and want to subscribe, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lachlanmillarmp.com.
Lachlan Millar MP
Member for Gregory and
Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers.