Australian Labor mayor slams party’s lack of support for mineworkers

Jenny Hill is the Mayor of Townsville in Queensland. (Image courtesy of Hill’s press team, Facebook).

Jenny Hill, the Labor Mayor of Townsville in the state of Queensland, northeastern Australia, slammed her own party this weekend saying that its lack of support for coal mining is pushing people towards right-wing political organizations.

At a conference held by a Labor think tank, Hill said that at the federal level, the centre-left Labor Party has not provided answers to the problems in north and central Queensland where mine workers are experiencing hard times.

“This term, over the last four years, we have been adamant: we support Adani. The reason for that is when you have a youth ­unemployment rate of 21 per cent at one point, and 13 per cent unemployment, particularly after the closure of Queensland Nickel, you have a community that is crying out for support,” Hill said at the event, according to The Australian.

In the mayor’s view, the lack of support from her party to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland -whose approval went through this year after almost a decade of negotiations- is caused by the influence of the “anti-worker” and “disruptive” Labor Environment Action Network LEAN.

Formed by a faction of Labor members­ that campaigns on environmental issues, LEAN successfully lobbied for at the party’s national conference to keep a 45 per cent emissions ­reduction target and a 50 per cent renewables target. 

However, for Hill, there has to be a balance between such objectives and Australia’s support for the mining industry. 

She reminded the audience that modern life would not be possible without the responsible extraction of Earth’s minerals. “Someone has got to mine it, someone has got to refine it and I would rather it be done in Australia than overseas. And that has been our mantra,” she is quoted as saying.

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