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Clermont and Clive team up to urge 'don't go cold on coal'

Decision 2020

Last year locals and climate change activists clashed on the streets of the small mining town of Clermont. This weekend, weeks before Queensland votes, another rally has taken place.

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Clermont is home to only 3,000 people, but its publican says it punches above its weight in what is delivers to Queensland’s economy — and he wants you to remember that this election.

In April last year the mining town, 400 kilometres west of Rockhampton, was inundated with hundreds of Stop Adani protesters, led by former Greens leader Bob Brown.

The event, which involved clashes between protesters and locals, was said to have influenced the outcome in crucial seats in Queensland, and swayed the outcome of the Coalition’s federal election win last year.

This weekend a rally led by a group called Don’t Go Cold on Coal was held in Clermont.

“We’ve organised a tribute to Bob Brown — he came to town and told us that everything we do is wrong,” organiser and publican Kel Appleton said.

“So we just got a few of the guys back, Clive Palmer, Matt Canavan — all the people that are concerned about our jobs, they’ve got together.”

About 100 people turned up to Appleton’s pub for the event.

“The real humans that are out here, they’re the ones that keep it going — this is the money that goes down to the southeast corner,” he said.

“Just normal humans, that’s what we’re sticking up for.

“Since 19 months ago, the federal election, 15 months later Adani goes ahead … it’s just incredible, the work it’s created.

“All the motels are full, the police come in here with the wide loads, the blokes selling tyres, the motels are full pretty well every night from the overflow of the camps.”

Praise for COVID-19 response

The rally, held with the support from the LNP and Clive Palmer, comes three weeks out from the Queensland election.

Clermont local John, who owns a property and runs a cattle feed mill, was in attendance.

He said he was going into this election undecided.

“I’ve always been a Coalition voter … it’ll take a hell of a lot to swing me, it’s just that I am impressed with the way Labor has handled the border closure,” he said.

“I’m really impressed with that.

John said it was important that coal mining royalties be used to pay for improvements to infrastructure.

“I think our whole road system has got to improve, because there’s going to be some major fatalities between here and Adani.

“Because it’s not a highway in Brisbane, we’ve got to put up with.”

No coal, no cash, local says

Lyn Kenny,m a 35-year resident of nearby Dysart, is married to a miner and her children have also joined the industry.

She said the region could not survive without coal.

“If there’s no coal production … there’s not going to be enough money for unemployment,” Kenny said.

“Without mining I just can’t see the country going ahead.”

A handful of climate activists set up across the road from the rally.

“It just seems insane that we are attaching the future of Queensland jobs to a dying industry,” spokeswoman Annabelle said.

But Appleton said investment in mining was crucial.

“We’re just trying to tell everyone, this is our job,” he said.

“People don’t see.”

– ABC / Jemima Burt and Erin Semmler

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