THE world’s a simple place when all you have to do is get out of bed in the morning and go to work.

It’s even simpler when you get there and dream up ways to undermine job-creating industries such as mining.

It doesn’t take much effort to be negative.

But having a go and creating jobs, building a stronger Australia for our future, does.

That’s why recent comments from Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad are so outrageous.

It just shows Labor’s complete disregard for the contribution mining makes to our economy – including the $66 billion from coal exports last year alone – as well as the jobs in regional communities, which make sure all parts of the country grow, not just the big cities.

First, Labor’s federal shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told retirees to not vote Labor if they are worried about the retiree tax.

Now Labor’s Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer is telling mining workers to re-skill if they want a job in the future.

Labor might as well say about Queenslanders, “Let them eat cake”.

That a mining-rich state’s Treasurer would want to shut down industry is bad enough but sadly, this attitude is all too common from the modern Labor Party.

Labor’s Left had an internal win in Canberra the other week and now our borders have been weakened.

The Labor Left is running the Government in Queensland and it is cheering home the demise of jobs and economic growth through mining.

And just last year Queensland Labor’s Left attacked farmers with ridiculous laws about land clearing.

While mining creates jobs in Queensland, while farmers grow our food and fibre and retirees have built this country, Labor only sees an ideological opportunity to cut it down.

Why else would Adelaide-based shadow energy minister Mark Butler say the coal market is in “structural decline”?

Why else would shadow defence minister Richard Marles say it would be “wonderful”, a “good thing”, if the global thermal coal market collapsed?

And why else would federal Labor vote against the Future Drought Fund?

Gone are the days of Labor governments which believed in jobs and opportunities. Gone are the days where economic growth and regional development were bipartisan aspirations.

Instead, Labor and the Greens are locked together in fierce competition for votes in capital city electorates.

If you’re a miner, a farmer or a retiree, bad luck.

Your livelihood, your community and your future does not matter to the modern Labor Party.

And because of this, our economic strength is in jeopardy.

There are more than 53,000 direct jobs in the nation’s coal sector, most of which are in regional communities.

In 2017-18, 203 million tonnes of thermal coal alone was exported, valued at about $23 billion – a record – and it is forecast to increase in coming years.

Add to that forecasts of growth in the export of metallurgical coal – from 179 million tonnes in 2017-18 to 190 million tonnes in 2019-20 – and this means there are still jobs and opportunities in the resources sector for Australians.

It also means we can list more lifesaving drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

We can help build safer roads and we can invest in the things that matter to keeping Australians secure while growing our economy.

And even the traditional bedfellows of the Labor Party – what was once the workers’ party – are starting to call it out.

The unions, especially the mining unions, know Labor is turning its back on workers and Queensland’s federal Labor MPs are running scared at the CFMMEU’s threat to withhold support at the upcoming election.

Yet they still lack the guts to do anything about it.

Jackie Trad is selling out Townsville’s workers but none of North Queensland’s Labor MPs will intervene. The best one can muster is telling the State Treasurer to “stay out of North Queensland’s business”.

And there’s one simple reason why: they know the Queensland Labor Government is a dress rehearsal for federal Labor, which will take this anti-job, anti-regional agenda across Australia.

So Bill Shorten has a question to answer before the next election: Greens or Gladstone? Townsville or a ticket with the Greens?

And this one is not a secret ballot.

OpEd published in the Townsville Bulletin, 7 March 2019

Shane Manning