Federal Opposition spokesman for resources Joel Fitzgibbon has quit the Shadow Cabinet saying Labor is spending too much time talking about climate change and not enough talking about the needs of its traditional base.
The move prompted Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt to Mr Fitzgibbon’s should resign completely from Labor if he really was concerned about sticking to his principles.
“I’m surprised that Mr Fitzgibbon has taken this long to come to the realisation that Labor is a lost cause when it comes to any sense of rational policies that connect with Australian workers and their families,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is clear that Labor won’t be changing its current trajectory under Anthony Albanese, and is heading down the dangerous path of Green ideology that threatens the jobs of thousands of hard-working Australians, particularly in the regions.”
Mining union the CFMEU described Mr Fitzgibbon as a great supporter of the resources industry and said Labor must find a new shadow resources minister who understood and valued the sector and its workers.
“Joel has been a great advocate for mining and energy workers and our union is deeply appreciative of his work and commitment,” CFMEU northern mining and NSW energy president Peter Jordan said.
“As a Hunter Valley local, Joel understands the value that the coal mining and coal power industries deliver to local regions like ours, through providing well-paid, long-term jobs and economic activity. “
NSW Labor MP Ed Husic will return to shadow cabinet to replace Mr Fitzgibbon.
The Minerals Council of Australia thanked Mr Fitzgibbon for his strong advocacy of the minerals sector, the coal industry, regional jobs and industries and mining’s approach to innovation and technology.
“Mr Fitzgibbon has worked tirelessly to emphasise the importance of mining to Australia’s economy and the crucial role it plays in creating jobs and supporting regional Australian communities, particularly in his electorate and the Hunter Valley region,” chief executive officer Tania Constable said.
“He has been an outstanding shadow minister and will be a significant loss for the sector. The industry wishes him all the best for the future.”