Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Anna Rogers
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Anna Rogers

Labor’s plan to win back regions

LABOR members will this month vote on a motion that the ALP commit to maintaining Queensland's status as a mining powerhouse as it continues its push to win back coal country voters ahead of next year's state election.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Labor's state conference will officially sign off on a whole new chapter in its policy platform focused on rural and regional Queensland.

That includes a resolution that Labor "supports the Queensland mining industry as a major economic driver in regional communities that has benefits for every Queenslander no matter where they live".

"Labor will continue to ensure Queensland remains a leading destination for mining and resources investment and export earnings," the draft policy document, obtained by The Courier-Mail, states.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Anna Rogers
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Anna Rogers

The conference will be held in Brisbane from August 23 to 25, three months after the party's horror showing at the May 18 federal election that saw its primary vote drop to just 26.68 per cent, with voters in regional and rural Queensland among those to punish the party at the ballot box.

The result sparked a major about-face on the Adani coal mine by the Palaszczuk Government, with its outstanding environmental approvals finally signed off less than a month after the drubbing.

The Government also dedicated its budget to the regions.

The party insists the decision to include a dedicated regional chapter in its policy platform was decided at last year's state conference, well before this year's federal election loss.

Anti-Adani protesters hold placards outside the offices of engineering and construction company GHD in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Anti-Adani protesters hold placards outside the offices of engineering and construction company GHD in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

Acting state secretary Zac Beers said the party had always had a "strong commitment to the regions".

"It is where our party was founded, and this chapter is a reflection of wanting to make sure that there is a very clear and dedicated commitment to making sure that issues that relate to regional and rural Queensland are front and centre on the agenda for our party," he said.

"Labor has always been very committed to supporting and developing the resources sector and mining. Particularly when it comes to the mining sector, we want to make sure that Labor's got a strong commitment to growing that sector."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert Photo - Caitlin Charles
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert Photo - Caitlin Charles

The party will not just vote to back the mining industry, but also to bolster training and apprenticeships in the resources sector.

"We have never lost our connection to and recognition of the importance of regional, rural and remote Queensland. Rural communities are the backbone of our great state," the preamble to the new chapter states.