Coal's growing acceptance

HOGSBACK reckons he has detected a change in the air – and things are looking up for coal.
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When two sworn political enemies are willing to pal up and defend coal, you know times are a-changing.

This week federal Hunter Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and Liberal Hughes MP Craig Kelly agreed to co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Coal group.

This is incredible for two reasons.

Firstly, that these two could agree on anything and secondly that coal has been deemed as something worth defending by the political classes.

Before this year's federal election in May it was "Peak Anti-Coal" time.

During this period, uttering anything in favour of coal would make you a target of ridicule and hate.    

Excitable environmentalists were randomly accosting passers-by in the main streets of Sydney and Melbourne telling them how evil coal and Adani was.

Opportunistic politicians attempted to surf this confected wave of anti-coal hysteria, thinking it would land them votes and protect their majorities from Greens and Independents.

As the results of the federal election would prove, they grossly misjudged the mood of the overwhelming majority of sane clear-thinking voters.  

Quite simply, the people wanted jobs and they wanted a local regional economy underpinned by a stable export. Coal ticked all the boxes.

Anglo American's recent announcement that it will expand its metallurgical coal operations by spending US$226 million to restart its Aquila mine in the Bowen Basin is a vote of confidence in regional Queensland, according to the Queensland Resources Council.

The mine will support 600 jobs at its peak and use technology to make it one of the most advanced underground mines in the world when development begins this September and production of premium hard coking coal in 2022.

"Every mining job matters in regional communities," QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said.

"And every mining job matters for our state's economy."

The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the unemployment rate in mining regions including Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday (5.3%), Central Queensland (5.6%) and Darling Downs Maranoa (5.6%) is below the state average of 6.1%.

These very salient facts have not gone unnoticed by the general public despite the best efforts of some political lobbyists who have an anthropogenic climate change fixation.

Most people live in the real world. They have to work, pay bills, and hopefully have some money left over to enjoy their weekends.

Coal helps them do this.

Hogsback reckons that the penny dropped on coal for a lot of politicians after the federal election.

They are now beginning to realise they cannot ignore how important coal is to the standard of living in Australia.