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It's easy to dismiss Queenslanders as coal-addicted bogans, but it's more complex than that

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23.05.2019

After the shocking – for some – results of the federal election were revealed on Saturday night, it didn’t take long for hashtags such as #Quexit and #MakeThemLeave to start trending on social media, calling for Queensland to be kicked out of Australia.

Whether people were rooting for Labor for climate-related reasons or otherwise, many unleashed their anger on regional electorates that delivered huge swings away from Labor, and that are home to some of Australia’s largest coal mines.

But while it is easy to dismiss these voters as ill-informed, coal-addicted bogans who don’t care about the climate crisis, the reality behind the political and economic priorities of Australia’s coal communities is more complex.

I have spent the past five years working in coal regions across Australia, from the Latrobe Valley and the Hunter region to the heart of Adani country in central and northern Queensland, helping people understand what a transition from fossil fuels to a zero emissions economy looks like.

To be clear, a just transition does not mean a direct shift from coal to renewable energy jobs. This is about taking advantage of the new job creation and investment opportunities in shifting to low-carbon solutions across all sectors – energy, land use and agriculture, construction, transport, waste and manufacturing.

My experience shows that the biggest myth that needs busting is the notion that coal communities aren’t interested in or aware of this transition. This is simply not true – everywhere we have worked, people have been interested in and even enthusiastic about the transition and its........

© The Guardian