"3000 empty houses": Labor MP takes swipe over pain
A CENTRAL Queensland backbench Labor MP has torn into his own government for not stepping in to help those hit hardest by mine-site sackings.
Mirani MP and CFMEU member Jim Pearce took aim at Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the government for its inaction over mines firing workers so they can use cheaper replacements pulled from labour-hire firms.
"I also apologise about the lack of interest coming from my government in allowing Anglo Coal to do what they are simply doing and not challenge them for the way these mining companies are behaving in Central Queensland," he said, as reported by the Courier-Mail.
"It's about time that someone had the guts to take these companies on and pull them into line."
Mr Pearce said the actions of mining companies was driving people away from regional areas.
As the government discussed the introduction of new water licences for mining applications, Mr Pearce again spoke to the Parliament, this time to highlight how tough workers are doing it throughout Central Queensland.
"In past years in the mining industry, jobs were safe," he said.
"There was a lot of certainty. Not any more.
"If we are decent human beings standing in this place talking about what we are going to do for people, we must remember that the first thing that any man or woman wants is to have a safe, secure job so that they can put food on their table.
"In central Queensland we have lost 20,000 jobs out of the mining industry which has a multiple flow-on impact across the region and into places like Mackay and Rockhampton.
"There are 3000 empty houses in the Bowen Basin and 3000 empty houses in Mackay.
"This is what has happened in our region because of a downturn in the industry and job losses.
"We go through a coal industry downturn from time to time, but it is the culture of the industry now that is taking opportunities away from workers, their families and communities.
"Our mining towns struggle from the massive population loss.
"The local and regional economies are on their knees.
"One has to go up there to actually see that."