Opposition leader Bill Shorten flanked by Anthony Albanese and state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as they discuss the Rockhampton ring road.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten flanked by Anthony Albanese and state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as they discuss the Rockhampton ring road. Jack Evans

'Coal will have a future in Australia': Shorten

OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten spent big in Central Queensland yesterday during a brief visit to Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

At a town hall meeting in Yeppoon, Mr Shorten fielded a range of questions from the public about employment, infrastructure, coal mining and development on Great Keppel Island.

Big-ticket items pushed by the Labor representative included upgrades to the Bruce Highway, aims to decrease casualisation in the local workforce, and a $25 million commitment to improving utilities infrastructure for GKI from State Labor.

Mr Shorten was confronted by two members of the audience about proposed changes to dividend imputations for pensioners. He said his policy was common sense.

Earlier, Mr Shorten took a stance on coal, acknowledging the resource has a future in Australia.

"Coal will have a future in Australia - it must," he said.

"We are going to keep exporting coal and that's a fact."

Earlier, Mr Shorten, flanked by Anthony Albanese, Labor's spokesman for transport and infrastructure, and Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk, doubled down on his commitment to commit $800 million towards the Rockhampton Ring Road despite the project already being committed to by the Federal Government last year.