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Monday, 22 May 2017
Page: 96

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Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (17:33): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. It was good to listen to the previous speaker because he was a great exponent of what we call the transfer of money, as opposed to making money. Every single thing he spoke about was about taking some taxpayers' money and spending it in his electorate, and I congratulate him for securing that money for his electorate.

Probably the individual major feature of the budget was $5 billion for a tunnel in Brisbane. That will bring the tunnels in Brisbane to 30 kilometres. That is quite intriguing, actually, because Sydney, with a population five times that of Brisbane, has only 14 kilometres of tunnels. In fact, Brisbane will be, per head of population, the most tunnelled city on earth. We who are in the quarter of the population of Queensland who live in the north of Queensland get a little bit upset because, where Brisbane has 200 overpasses, we have nine. We have about the same population: we have a little bit under a million people and Brisbane has 1.2 million people. They have 200 overpasses and we have nine. They have 30 kilometres of tunnels and we have none. They have $5 billion worth of pleasure domes, starting with the magnificent football stadium and going all the way down to the function centre, which I measured at nearly a kilometre and a half long. As John Quiggin said, the wonderful thing about the politicians that represent Queensland—state and federal—is that they have tunnel vision! I have seldom heard a more appropriate comment.

There are those of us in this place who belonged to a government in Queensland that built a nation. Where does your peak load power come from? The Snowy Mountains. Where would this nation be without our ownership of our peak load power? We were building a nation. In Queensland, in the government I was part of, we built 6,000 kilometres of rail line into the mining fields of Queensland, and created it out of nothing. We were a coal-importing nation. We in the Queensland government—the much maligned Bjelke-Petersen government—created not a coal-importing nation but the greatest coal-exporting state on earth. That was Queensland. We provided 20,000 or 30,000 direct jobs and 100,000 total jobs in the state of Queensland—arguably, we created 200,000 jobs.

People asked us why we were in bed with the CFMEU. Of course, those workers were members of the CFMEU. They loved us for creating this great industry for them and for creating the most highly paid workforce on earth. Our colleagues over here on my left and on your right, Mr Deputy Speaker, say that that is a problem. High wages in Australia are the problem! Well, we said with pride that the workers of Queensland were the most highly paid workers on earth.

The budget: kicking the banks. Well, at long last, the ruling class took a really hard kick in a most painful place for the first time in my 22 years here. Remember, for half that time it was the ALP in here; they seem to be more in love with the owning class and the CEO class. I refer to the wonderful works of that Frenchman, Piketty, and his book, which is a mass best seller throughout the entire world. It is a very boring, academic treatise—very thick. He said that the new rich on earth are the CEOs—the managerial classes. They are the ruling classes. Effectively, they pay themselves what they feel like paying themselves. On average, in this country, that is about $10 million a year. Their colleagues are paid about $2 million or $3 million a year.

So, we kicked the banks. Did it hurt? Well, every newspaper in Australia was running the banking line: 'Oh, we owe a responsibility to our shareholders. We'll just have to pass it on!' Where were the free marketeers? Where were the great advocates of the free market here? Are they just going to pass it on? What they have admitted to, if not conscious parallelism, is collusion. Supply and demand is supposed to determine the price; interest rates are determined by supply and demand. Well, no they are not, because the banks just said, 'We'll pass it on.' So they have admitted that there is no free market here in the financial operations of this country. In spite of all of that, I very much appreciate that now we have found out that there is no free market in banking in Australia. We already know it does not exist in the sugar industry and we already know it does not exist in any other of a hundred industries that I could name. But now we have found out that it does not exist in banking.

But we did kick them, and I want to pay tribute to the Treasurer. Whatever his reasons for doing it, the fact is that for the first time in 23 years or whatever it is that I have been in this place, we kicked the big boys. And I can tell you that the much-maligned Bjelke-Petersen government in Queensland were on record kicking the big boys all the time. We hit them with coal freight rates, which led to an unending stream of criticism for us.

Now, to the important point about the budget. I have been asked, 'Why are you so depressed about the budget?' Well, it did not create a single job; it did not create one single job. It just transferred some money from over there—off these people, called taxation—and handed it to some people over there. That is called 'transferred money'. But there is a difference between that and 'made money'. I pay great tribute to Emma Bradbury, the local government CEO of the Murray Darling Association, who said, 'We are talking about made money.' I said, 'What does that mean?' She said, 'Well, we get some water, we spread it out and we grow potatoes or we grow grapes and we turn those grapes into wine. We make money out of it. That is made money.' All the government ever talks about is transferred money. We heard the last speaker go on for 15 minutes about how he has transferred some money from taxpayers and spent it on some self-indulgence over here.

In North Queensland, we can provide for our fellow Australians, if we can get you to build a nation. But there is nothing in this budget—not a single dollar—for nation building. If we could get a quarter of a million off you, we could build the enhanced extended waterway—IPIPI waterway, or canal. Murrandoo Yanner dreamed up that name—God bless him. If we build that waterway, we can get our fertiliser, our phosphate. We have ammonia trapped gas. So we would not caught with a lack of the government's reserve resource. We are the only country on earth not to have a reserve resource policy. We can buy our gas from the Japanese cheaper than we can buy it from the Australian suppliers through this non-existent reserve resource policy.

If you give us that quarter of a million dollars and you allow us to build that canal, which is under the federal government, not the state government, then we can provide for you a billion dollars a year in fertiliser production. That is not a figure plucked out of the air. I had the very great honour and privilege of presiding over the Incitec Pivot plant in Mt Isa which produces two thousand million dollars a year from just one mine—the Duchess Mine. We are talking here about six mines going into a central plant and having no costs for transportation. The canal is $7 a tonne whereas, with the Port of Townsville—we are transhipping at sea—and the railway line, we are talking about $70 or $80 a tonne. Here, we are talking about $7 a tonne. That is the difference between getting this project going and not getting this project going.

Hell's Gates, which is a giant dam scheme at the back of Townsville, will supply Townsville with a much-needed water supply. In fact, the dam, the last time I looked, was $260 million. The cost of the pipeline to Townsville is a pretty negligible item. You could build that tomorrow and Townsville would have its water supply tomorrow. But Hell's Gate produces for our country $3 billion a year forever and 30,000 permanent jobs.

There is not a single nation-building project in this budget. There is no canal waterway to get our fertiliser out. There is no dam so that we can hold back a little tiny bit of the massive floodwaters in North Queensland and spread it out onto land which is now called the Desert Uplands. We can turn the desert into a golden bowl of food production, ethanol production and timber production. And the wonderful thing about Hell's Gate is it will produce almost all of North Queensland's power needs—one per cent of Australia's entire power needs—and it would be totally renewable because of the great technological breakthroughs with algae that won the United Nations prize for the environment. We found out that, if we bubble the CO2 from burning sugarcane fibre into ponds, it produces magical cattle feed or biodiesel. You can use a different sort of algae and produce biodiesel. The STADS project, which is on the upper Herbert at the back Cairns—not the back of Townsville in this case—is $2.5 billion a year.

Our first Australians are dying from diabetes—malnutrition—in proportions that are a disgrace to this nation. We give them $5 billion a year for the silicon from Cape York, and hundreds and hundreds of jobs. We are going to give a foreign corporation a gift of $1,000 million to build a railway line into the Galilee! If I were a betting man, I would bet that the greenies are going to win the battle—so we will burn up the $1,000 million and still have no railway line! If the government builds the railway line, then it will be built. The government environmental departments cannot stop the government; a government cannot stop itself from building a railway line. Every single kilometre of 6,090 kilometres of railway line in Queensland was built by the government—and not a single cent from private enterprise. And, speaking as probably the third- or second-ranking minister in that government, we made an awful lot of money out of those railway lines. With the rail profits that we made and the payroll tax and the mineral royalties, we ran Queensland on a tiny little budget of $8 billion—because we were smart and we got the money from building a nation. That is where the money came from—building a nation.

The Fitzgerald inquiry told us all how corrupt we were. I thought we were a bit brutal at times, but it is rather intriguing that we are supposed to be 'a police state'. Hold on a minute! We only had 2,000 people in jail. The socialists who have ruled for most of the 29 years since, the great freedom-loving socialists, have 8,000 people in jail. We had 2,000 people in jail; they have 8,000 people in jail. If you ever forget to send in your money to renew your gun licence, as one of my constituents did last week, you are put in jail. If you have a few beers at the wrong time and drive your car, you go to jail. Little kids go to jail for being stupid and driving around in someone else's car that their brother has stolen or something. This is good fun, except that putting those kids in jail is costing us $570 million a year. Is it any wonder the state is going broke? But you count on the old socialists to be self-righteous and oppress everybody. They do not just oppress the rich; they oppress everybody. They have a very good egalitarian spirit when it comes to oppression and restriction and a freedomless state.

Finally, it will not cost the government anything much at all—maybe a couple of hundred million dollars—for micro-irrigation in small towns like Hughenden, on-farm irrigation for our cattlemen and title deeds for our first Australians. Give us that and we will give you $7 billion a year in cattle income. And I would at some future date like to talk about young families and retirees and how they can be looked after. (Time expired)