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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14817


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (12:45): Australia's economic growth is being underpinned by investment in liquefied natural gas, which is currently at record levels. The growth rate for the quarter was stronger than forecast. The growth rate was driven by resource exports, led by an 11.4 per cent increase in oil and gas production. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is projecting that natural gas production will more than double in the next five years.

In the next five years, LNG exports are expected to increase from 26 million tonnes per year to more than 76 million tonnes per year. It is great news for the local economy and the economy of my electorate of Flynn. The LNG industry is especially important to the Flynn electorate. There are three new LNG projects in Gladstone—Australia Pacific LNG, Queensland Curtis LNG, Santos GLNG. The construction projects for those plants are coming to a completion.

QGC is up and running, with the two trains now intact. The first scheduled maintenance contracts on train 1 are starting. QGC is creating new jobs for Gladstone—some 150 jobs per plant and a maintenance crew of about 200, which will rotate from plant to plant. These projects are supporting local industries and local jobs. All the accommodation for the permanent production jobs will be in Gladstone.

During the construction of the Curtis Island project, more than 10,000 locals were employed and there were many thousands more fly-in fly-out workers. The workforce included 200 apprentices and 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Local employees earn more than $1.5 billion in wages. Local contractors and subcontractors had purchase orders from the plant worth more than $1 billion. The LNG industry has helped support more than 600 local businesses in Flynn, including transport, logistics, accommodation, furniture movers, furniture suppliers, restaurants, fruit and vegetables and the trades businesses.

My electorate has seen the LNG industry go from strength to strength. QGC announced two weeks ago an expansion of 300 to 400 new gas wells in an area in the Surat Basin located 20 kilometres west of Wandoan and 40 kilometres south-east of Taroom. This $1.7 billion investment went down very well in that area. The people out there are suffering from drought, and this will supplement the income of those communities. The project will sustain natural gas supplies to the QCLNG plant at Curtis Island, and there will also be provisions for domestic gas.

It is anticipated the construction associated with the investment announced two weeks ago will result in jobs ago for 1,600 extra workers in the gas fields. That will also boost the regions around Wandoan and Taroom, boost accommodation, and of course all the other industries that have been involved in the gas scene for the last three or four years.

The project will run from 2015 to 2017. While we continue to develop other industries, this source of revenue will remain valid in the future. The life of these plants will probably last 25 years or longer. That equates to about $200 billion of investment in the LNG industry across Australia, and Gladstone will be the focal point of gas supplies to our South-East Asian neighbours. This means long-term skilled jobs for future generations of Australians in the electorate of Flynn. Farmers with gas wells on their properties have also benefitted. (Time expired)