Andrew in Parliament office

Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has labelled Federal Labor Shadow Employment Minister, Brendan O’Conner, as a ‘blow-in’ from Melbourne who arrived in Townsville with no new ideas and nothing better to do than play politics with the Yabulu Nickel Refinery.

Mr Cripps said the criticism by Mr O’Conner – with Labor Candidate for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole in tow – of the Federal LNP Government reeked of cynical political opportunism and was a slap in the face to former Yabulu Nickel Refinery workers and their families.

“Mr O’Conner has called on the Federal Government to bring forward Bruce Highway projects to stimulate the economy in the Townsville region – 80 per cent of the road projects fast tracked by the Palaszczuk Government last week was federal funding” said Mr Cripps.

“Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, has written to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, calling for a bipartisan federal response to the economic challenges facing the Townsville region – Mr O’Conner’s comments expose the insincerity of that proposal” he said.

Mr Cripps said Federal Labor also looked silly arriving in Townsville to express concern about the difficulties facing the Yabulu Nickel Refinery, given Clive Palmer had nominated Labor’s carbon tax as one of the reasons he went into federal politics.

“One of the main excuses Clive Palmer has used to justify taking more than $21 million out of Queensland Nickel to bankroll the Palmer United Party, was to try and get rid of the Rudd-Gillard Government’s industry destroying carbon tax”.

“Mr O’Conner is a blow in from Melbourne who has flown in because Federal Labor think they can make some political mileage out of the anxiety and frustration facing the community in the Townsville region during what is a very uncertain time”.

Mr Cripps said the employees and former employees of the Yabulu Nickel Refinery had seen through the self-serving political rhetoric offered by Clive Palmer last week and would spot the sudden interest of Federal Labor as opportunistic and disingenuous.


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