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Adani Queensland town turns from coal to renewables future

April 16, 2021

Exec Review:

“Adani was about the here and now for the community,” says Townsville’s mayor, Jenny Hill, reflecting on a decade spent championing the thermal coal project as a way to reduce the city’s high unemployment rate.

“There were no jobs. There was no interest in manufacturing. It was important to give the community hope for the future.”

Townsville’s place at the forefront of the coal wars have made Hill, who is a member of the ALP, a prominent figure in the party’s schism over coal and climate. In 2019 she told a forum run by Labor’s Chifley Research Centre that the city’s mantra was “we stick to our guns: we support mining”.

In Queensland politics, “transition” has been a dirty word. Pro-coal politicians like LNP senator Matt Canavan have said transition equates to job destruction. Rightwing media commentators have portrayed comments that miners need to “re-skill” as a kind of ideological warfare, rather than part of a discussion about how communities respond to a real global shift away from fossil fuels.

“It’s the right of the workers in the community not to be destroyed in the process of the transition,” Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says. “And now the opportunities [from transition] are starting to become tangible and real.” 

[Ben Smee]

More: Townsville’s ‘road to Paris’ moment: the slow greening of an Adani stronghold

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