FEDERAL Member for Dawson, George Christensen, believes coal produced by Queensland miners could help lift millions of people out of poverty.
Mr Christensen advocated passionately for the coal industry in parliament last week, saying more than a billion people around the world lived in energy poverty and lives were put at risk by “extreme green” attempts to shut the coal industry down.
He said mining communities in Queensland had abundant resources “and some of the cleanest coal in the world”.
“So it would appear to be a fantastic win-win situation,” he said.
“It is a great shame and an indictment on the extreme greens that having enjoyed all the benefits of the industrial revolution and cheap energy for decades, the poorest people in the world are being told to stay in poverty.”
Mr Christensen’s comments are likely to anger those opposed to the development of the Galilee Basin and expansion of Abbot Point, with the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart, recently accusing him of ignoring the message from voters at the Queensland election.
“George Christensen should stop trying to dredge up support for the industrialisation of the reef and accept the view of the majority of Queenslanders who want it kept safe,” Ms Wishart said.
“The Queensland election was a referendum on the future of the reef – and Queenslanders overwhelmingly want the natural icon and the tourism jobs that rely on it protected.”
Ms Wishart also criticised Mr Christensen’s proposal for a delegation travel to Brisbane for a meeting with new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, to argue in favour of the Abbot Point port and rail expansion.
“Mr Christensen is stuck defending the Newman mantra that Queensland is ‘in the coal business’, when many in his electorate and the Queensland community have a more sophisticated view,” she said.
“The times have changed in Queensland [and] it’s time George Christensen got with it and started working to secure a safe future for the reef and tourism.”