Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind coal exports as he embarks on a tour of regional Queensland—the areas that contributed to former opposition leader Bill Shorten’s loss at the federal election in May.
The federal Labor leader says Australia can continue to mine and export coal while also having strong climate change policies.
“If Australia stopped exporting today there would not be less demand for coal—the coal would come from a different place,” Albanese told Nine newspapers on Monday.
“So it would not reduce emissions—which has to be the objective. I don’t see a contradiction between that and having a strong climate change policy.”
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the trip presented a test for Albanese and the Labor Party.
“They say now they support the export of coal,” Senator Canavan told Sky News.
“I haven’t heard Anthony Albanese say three simple words: ‘I support Adani.'”
His visit to regional Queensland comes as the Labor Party lays the foundations for policies it will be taking to the next federal election.
Party members are debating how to repackage their climate change policies and how ambitious the party should be in relation to its emissions reduction target.
Labor went to the election confident of a win with its promise to introduce emissions reduction target by 45 percent in 2030, based on 2005 levels, which the Coalition said is “reckless.” The Coalition has an emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
A recent review of the 2019 federal election found Labor’s ambiguous language around the Adani thermal coal mine and lack of support for the coal industry cost the party votes in Queensland and in other coal mining regions.
With reporting by NTD.