CENTRE OF ATTENTION: They were workers but now they're protesting outside Glencore's Oaky North mine.
CENTRE OF ATTENTION: They were workers but now they're protesting outside Glencore's Oaky North mine. Campbell Gellie

Pollies clash over CQ miners locked out of work

KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga challenged Senator Matthew Canavan yesterday to "pluck up some courage" to meet CQ miners who were locked out of their workplace.

Earlier this week, Canavan posted on social media that he will be visiting different mining towns in Central Queensland to talk to the workers of the coal industry.

Mrs Lauga yesterday called for Senator Canavan to visit the Glencore workers who have been locked out at Tieri.

"They deserve to hear from representative of the Turnbull government who have so far been missing in action on the issue," she said.

The Glencore workers have been locked out of their workplace for over 70 days, with on-going disputes between the company and the workers since.

But Senator Canavan labelled her comments about him not having met with the workers as an "absolute mistruth."

"I've met with workers in Rockhampton who are affected by the dispute, so that's an absolute mistruth," he said.

"I'm not going to respond to Brittany Lauga, who's never ever helped the coal industry at all, and I'm not going to respond to her call when it's always a distraction.

He said that both Rockhampton and Yeppoon were struggling, and that the focus needs to be on making improvements to these towns.

He also challenged Mrs Lauga that if she feels that politicians were able to resolve the situation, that she should be able to do so herself.

"If she thinks a politician can solve the industrial dispute, then why doesn't she wave her magic wand and get it done?" he said.

Mr Canavan emphasized that the Glencore situation was highly unfortunate.

"Hopefully they can come together and come to an agreement, because there is no magic wand that politicians can wave to fix the situation," he said.

"It takes an agreement worked out between the workers and the company, and we have arrangements that protect workers in this situation that, give them rights to make objections, and a voice to do that.

"But ultimately, it's got to be an agreement between the company and the workers, and I hope that happens as quickly as possible so people can provide for their families."