Socialist candidate: ‘Matt Canavan speaks for big coal not regional Queensland’

Renee Lees. Photo: Carine Visschers

“Matt Canavan speaks for the coal barons, not regional Queensland,” Renee Lees, Senate candidate for Socialist Alliance in Queensland, said in Cairns on April 27.

“We refuse to accept that climate action is not possible,” Lees said, referring to the Nationals Senator’s comment to the ABC the previous day that “The net zero thing is all sort of dead anyway”.

Canavan, a former resources minister, who is pushing for government backing for the construction of a coal power station in Collinsville, told the ABC: “Boris Johnson said he is pausing the net zero commitment; Germany is building coal and gas infrastructure; Italy’s reopening coal-fired power plants. It’s all over. It’s all over bar the shouting here.”

The Coalition took the inadequate net zero emissions by 2050 policy to the Glasgow climate summit last year. Still sections of the government disagree.

“Queenslanders need a planned shift to 100% renewables over the next 5–10 years, a total phase-out of the fossil fuel industry and guaranteed jobs with no loss of pay for affected workers,” Lees said.

“We need urgent large-scale, feet-on-the-ground programs to support our region restore the land and reforest, transition to sustainable farming, and support First Nations peoples care for country.

“We need real zero, not dodgy accounting and sham overseas offsets,” Lees added.

She criticised the federal government for not even being able to “hold together” on an empty promise of net zero 30 years away. “Their only vision for regional Queensland is big coal and gas mines and big dams to support those mines.

“Regional Queensland needs dinosaurs like Matt Canavan like we need fires, floods and a dying reef,” Lees concluded.

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