Labour preselection candidate for the seat of Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke.
Labour preselection candidate for the seat of Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke. Chris Ison ROK171017cpreselectio

Rocky's Labor man stands by Premier on Adani veto

POLITICAL rookie Barry O'Rourke is standing by the Premier's decision for her government to veto a possible $1b federal loan to Adani if re-elected.

READ: Did Premier go too far with Adani $1b loan veto?

With the region set to reap a huge jobs bonanza from Adani's Carmichael Mine project, the move has baffled political opponents who are at a loss to understand her actions and the potential repercussions on such an important project for Central Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. DARREN ENGLAND

On Friday, Annastacia Palaszczuk went on the front foot, accusing the LNP of intending to run a smear campaign because her partner Shaun Drabsch worked with Pricewaterhouse Coopers on Adani's loan application to the Northern Australian Infrastructure loan.

Details emerged yesterday that Mr Drabsch had also advised Rockhampton Regional Council to participate in the development of the Rookwood Weir, a project which is shaping as a hot election issue for the region.

With Mr O'Rourke unwavering in his support for the Premier on Sunday in the face of questions about the potential impact for Rockhampton of the Adani veto, the LNP's candidate Douglas Rodgers described Ms Palaszczuk's position "as strange”.

Mr Rodgers said he'd spoken to local Labor people who backed the development and the jobs it would bring and they were left confused by this latest twist.

"Are they selling us out for the sake of Green votes in Brisbane or are they trying to negotiate a situation?” Mr Rodgers said local Labor supporters were asking themselves.

LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers.
LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers. Leighton

"I don't buy the line that the LNP was going to run a smear campaign against the Premier and her partner on the basis he worked on the loan application because the LNP is in favour of the loan in principle.

"It's only the left of the Labor Party who doesn't want it (Adani) to go ahead.”

Mr Rodgers said he was unclear on how the situation constituted a conflict of interest.

"It's not clear as to how her partner would have got financial gain... I've not seen any evidence of a conflict,” Mr Rodgers said.

"It's a rubber stamping process. I think it would be a milestone moment if they were to knock back federal funding that was going to a project in their state.”

He said he'd not heard anything about the issue until the Premier raised it on Friday.

Mr O'Rourke, who said he was provided a quick briefing note about the LNP's smear campaign against the Premier, called on the miner to get on with the job and repeatedly said the Premier's integrity was above question.

"She has decided to take this action and I support her in that,” Mr O'Rourke said.

"The Queensland Government has always said it will not contribute to a foreign, multi-billionaire and use Queensland taxpayer dollars.

"Labor has always said public money should not be provided to Adani. Adani is on record saying it does not require NAIF funding.”

Previously, Rockhampton-based LNP Senator and Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan said he had canvassed colleagues and no one was aware of the smear campaign.

Mr Canavan said under constitutional rules a state must sign the NAIF project finance documents with the project proponent and have a role in management of the loan.

A spokesman for the Premier told The Morning Bulletin the Premier had acted in accordance with the Integrity Commissioner's advice.

Adani is currently seeking funding for it's $16b Carmichael Mine Project where it has commenced work.

The $1b NAIF funding is part of its process. Adani has not commented on the veto decision.

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