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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4075


Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (09:30): I want to talk this morning about the new wealth that has been generated in regional Queensland, particularly in my own electorate of Maranoa as well as the electorate of Flynn. I have referred to the Galilee Basin coal and coal seam gas developments. The same situation is occurring in the Surat Basin. Coal seam gas is bringing new wealth to the community, great wealth to the state of Queensland and of course great wealth for all Australians. But the development of coal seam methane gas has been controversial in my constituency and in New South Wales as well. Part of the problem has been the failure of the Queensland Labor government to put the regulations in place to ensure that people have confidence in this industry and to make sure that it is sustainable, that it will not harm the environment and that the coexistence issues between the landholder and the mining company are open and transparent.

Only through the voice of protest of my colleagues the LNP members Howard Hobbs, Ray Hopper and Lawrence Springborg as well as the member for Flynn, the member for Gregory—Vaughan Johnson—and myself as the member for Maranoa have we seen some changes to the Queensland regulations covering coal seam methane gas, access to land and the issue of water. In the beginning they were scandalous regulations, and it has only been through the voice of protest that we brought about changes that are going to see, I think, more sustainable industry.

This weekend we will see a change of government in Queensland to an LNP government that understands the issue. They will have to make sure there is more transparency in relation to the issue of compensation to landholders. Access to landholders' properties has got to be more transparent and open. There has to be better compensation for landholders as well, because when they get the compensation they will spend that money in their community. And of course they have to address the issue of housing affordability in the towns where these industries are developing, because it is becoming quite apparent that the two-speed economy in my electorate and in the seat of Flynn is almost out of control for the older industries.

They also have to address the issue of infrastructure. The Warrego Highway is like a city highway now, with congestion that was never imagined in the past. We have to make sure that this new wealth brings wealth to all, not just to some. The growth must be managed. To give you some idea of the sort of growth we have seen, in my own home town of Roma we have 1,000 new houses coming. Unemployment is under one per cent. We used to have one flight a day of a Dash 8 from Brisbane to Roma; we now have six. In the last 12 months we had 60,000 passengers through the air terminal in Roma and have just opened the new $15 million air terminal. It is going to rise to 100,000 passengers in the next 12 months. That gives you some idea of the extraordinary growth. It has to be better managed, and the LNP government— (Time expired)