The Australian Greens’ leader has backed the government’s plans to build a major coal seam mine near his electorate of Cairns.
Key points:Former coal seam miner John Day is one of the leaders of the Australian Greens in the SenateMr Day said his support for coal seam mining is not about politics”I’m not going to put political affiliation on the line, I’ve never done that, and I don’t think I ever will,” he said.
“It’s about the environment, and the environment is going to be in a very strong position to do the right thing.”
The Greens leader said he supported the mining of coal seam, and said it was important for the country to “go forward with the development of coal seams”.
“I think it’s important that we develop coal seam because it is an economic asset,” he told the ABC’s Lateline program.
“The development of this coal seam could create thousands of jobs and make Australia more competitive in the global market.”‘
I want to be able to stand up and say that’s who I am, that’s what I believe’Mr Day was the leader of the Greens in Parliament in the last parliament and has been a vocal critic of coal.
He was one of five Greens senators who voted against a $2.5 billion coal seam coal seam exploration program in 2015, a move that helped to topple Labor’s government.
He said the issue of coal was not political, and that his support was based on what he believed was the best use of the resource.
“I want people to be happy and be able for their families to live on a sustainable basis,” he explained.
“That’s not a political issue.
It’s a business issue, and we have a very successful mining industry and we need to look at that and make sure we are investing in our local communities.”
Mr Day has been speaking about the future of coal in a series of recent interviews, and this week released a new report on the issue, calling for an end to the use of coal to power electricity generation.
He told the Sunday Independent that the Government’s decision to move ahead with the coal seam program could affect the local environment and his electorate.
“If they’re going to go ahead and do it, then it will affect my electorate, it will impact my people, it’s going to affect my water supply and it’s also going to impact the local jobs,” he noted.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to stop this from happening.
We’ve got a lot of other issues to deal with.”