Opinion Pieces

Check out opinion pieces that Murray Watt has written.

THE NATIONALS’ CLIMATE PLAN – YOU PAY MORE

October 21, 2021

SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

THE NATIONALS’ CLIMATE PLAN – YOU PAY MORE

Here we go again. After eight long years of LNP Government in Canberra, we have another fight between the Liberals and Nationals on climate change.

This time it’s Nationals MPs like Michelle Landry, Ken O’Dowd and Matt Canavan who want Central Queenslanders to pay the bill - in jobs lost, higher power prices and a big, new mortgage tax.

The Nationals talk a lot about jobs in our traditional industries, like mining and agriculture. But the National Farmers Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Rio Tinto, BHP, Santos, Origin and more say that cutting our emissions will create more jobs, not less, in those industries.

Those companies want to make more money and create more jobs, not less. Why do the Nationals want to stop Central Queensland getting its fair share of those jobs?

Most of Central Queensland’s coal is exported to make steel, in countries like Japan, South Korea and, until recently, China. That will continue, as will our gas exports, for years to come, whatever Australia does on emissions. Likewise, we’ll keep growing crops and running cattle, to feed ourselves and the world.

What net zero emissions offers Central Queensland is the chance to build on our traditional industries and create even more secure, long-term jobs.

Right around the region, small and large businesses are using new energy sources to cut their power bills. Especially in manufacturing.

After years of manufacturing decline, imagine the jobs we can create locally, by adding new energy sources to our current mix, cutting power prices power prices in the process.

Good, blue collar jobs - processing minerals, making aluminum, wind turbines and trains here, rather than importing them. Value adding to our minerals and crops, right here in Central Queensland.

Other countries are already grabbing these opportunities. By refusing to sign up to net zero emissions, the Nationals are letting those countries get the jump on us.

How often have we seen other countries take good Aussie ideas overseas and make millions from them? We shouldn’t let the Nationals send manufacturing jobs offshore when they should be in towns like Rocky, Gladstone, Emerald, Moranbah and Biloela.

But it’s not just the job losses that Central Queensland would see under the Nationals’ plan. Every homeowner would pay more too.

Two weeks ago, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan admitted who would pay for his party’s plan - you. He told Sky News that: “If we are forced to pay a little more on our mortgages, we should do that.”

His astonishing remarks come in response to recent warnings from his own Government’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, that Australians risk paying higher interest on their home loans, if we continue to oppose net zero emissions by 2050.

So we have a Nationals Senator saying you should pay more, while he sends jobs offshore! How out of touch is that?

The climate wars have gone on too long. It’s time our Nationals MPs stopped trying to make Central Queenslanders pay more, so they can keep playing their political games.

Central Queensland deserves more jobs in more industries, not the Nationals’ plan of jobs lost, higher power prices and a big, new mortgage tax.

This opinion piece was first published in CQ Today on Wednesday, 20 October 2021.

A FAIR GO FOR AUSTRALIA