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Queensland turned its back on Labor over coal jobs last federal election. What are the key issues this time?

Clermont resident Allen Scott is worried about job security for the town. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

When Bob Brown's anti-Adani convoy rolled into central Queensland in 2019, the reverberations were felt all the way to Canberra.

As the dust settled on Scott Morrison's unexpected win in the federal election that year, analysts pointed to the ill-fated campaign by the former Greens leader as a pivotal moment when the scales tipped against the ALP in the Sunshine State.

With thousands of mining jobs hanging in the balance, locals pulled together in support of the Adani project and its promise of economic growth for small rural towns.

Three years on, in the face of another federal election, the ABC retraced the convoy's path and found that while much had changed, some things remained the same.

Clermont locals crowd on to the street to protest as the anti-Adani convoy arrives in town. (ABC News)

Job security to keep Clermont alive

Clermont coal miner Allan Scott was part of the counter-protest when the anti-Adani convoy hit his hometown, rallying in support of the coal mining project.

Mr Scott has lived in the central Queensland town for 37 years and raised his two sons there.

"For me, the rally had two issues: one was to keep mining alive by putting an end to whatever Bob Brown was doing," he said.

"The second part was if we keep mining alive, we can get Adani up and running. It should have flow-on effects to the town and the regions."

Clermont pub owner Leslie Boal supported the Adani mine. (ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

Three years on, he is still fighting the same fight.

"It's making sure we've still got jobs moving forward, not just for myself but for my family.

A mural in the main street of Clermont recognises the major industries that make up the region. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

He said one of the locally owned and run mines was due to shut down in the next five years, which could threaten the town's survival.

"We'll go back to being reliant on having to drive-in drive-out to other mines," he said.

"The more people who start having to drive-in and drive-out are going to start saying to themselves, 'I'm sick of driving. I'm going to move to Emerald, or I'm going to move to Moranbah' … and with that comes a decline in the Clermont economy."

Clermont is in the federal electorate of Capricornia, held by the LNP's Michelle Landry since 2013.

Heading into this election, Mr Scott said he would again be voting Labor in the hope of change.

"There are a lot of Labor supporters, but there are a lot more LNP supporters based off the agriculture side of things."

Convoy 'cost Labor the election'

Business owner Grant Oswald also believes jobs are still the biggest issue for Clermont.

"It would have to be job security still. That's the biggest one, making sure the town is still here," he said.

"It's a coal mining town, but it's a grazing town [too], so you've got the green issues that come with that."

Clermont businessman Grant Oswald says Labor's soft stance on coal in 2019 cost it the election. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

He said he wasn't part of the rally the day the convoy arrived, but he remembered it clearly.

'I worry for my kids'

An hour's drive down the road is Emerald in Queensland's Central Highlands. It's part of the federal electorate of Flynn, long-held by the LNP's Ken O'Dowd, who is retiring.

This year the major party candidates are the LNP's Colin Boyce — an already elected state MP for Callide— and the Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett, for Labor.

For Emerald farmer Michael Burridge, his vote this year will be on climate change.

"I think the Morrison government has gone to sleep when it comes to recognising climate change," he said.

Mr Burridge has worked on cane farms, as an electrician in the mines, and now on his own irrigation farm growing cotton and leucaena for cattle feed.

He is retiring soon and will pass on the farm to his children.

"I've had a pretty good run, but I worry for the kids and grandkids."

Farmer Michael Burridge says he will vote on climate change. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Disengaged from politics

Emerald business owner Rachel McDowall's biggest concern is a fair investment for rural and regional communities.

"Rural and remote are very much treated like second class citizens," she said.

"We don't get the same healthcare. We don't get the same education standards that everyone gets in the cities."

Emerald resident and small business owner Rachel McDowall has lost faith in all parties. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Ms McDowall recalls when the convoy came through town.

"It was highly amusing … having someone from Tasmania come up here and tell us how we should be doing things. It was just full of arrogance, in my opinion," she said.

"He [Bob Brown] ended up being a great ally for the conservatives, without realising it.

This year, Ms McDowall said she had disengaged from politics, feeling that politicians had lost their true character.

"They aren't selecting the right candidates in any party, and that's mainly because the good ones aren't putting their hand up," she said.

"I just find, over time, spin doctors have advised politicians [that] being raw and authentic will not buy them votes, and I completely disagree with that.

"I can happily vote for someone who might not be fully aligned with me, but if they're authentic and genuinely want to make a difference, they're more likely to get my vote."

She said none of the candidates this year had caught her interest.

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