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Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Page: 2190

Senator LAZARUS (QueenslandLeader of the Glenn Lazarus Team) (18:54): I speak on behalf of Queensland when I say that I am concerned about the impact of climate change not only on the environment, as we have previously heard about, but also on jobs in the tourism industry. Tourism employs approximately 120,000 people in Queensland and represents approximately 4.5 per cent of the GDP, which is considerably more than the national average of around 3.6 per cent. This means the tourism industry represents almost six per cent of Queensland's workforce. I can attest to this. I have personally visited different parts of North Queensland to get a feel for how my state is engaging with the world, and we offer many great sites, activities and experiences—some of them extreme—all based around our wonderful environment.

Queensland's natural beauty is fundamental to the success of this industry, and we boast five World Heritage sites. These are the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, the Gondwana Rainforests, the Riversleigh fossil site and the wet tropics area from Cooktown to Townsville. Tourists come from all over the world to experience the natural wonders of Queensland. Not surprisingly, they do not come to check out the CSG mining infrastructure out the back of Chinchilla. In fact, no-one does—not even the Prime Minister, even though he promised me he would.

Given the importance of tourism to my home state, I call on the government to act seriously when it comes to climate change, because increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are damaging our rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from increasing acidity and sea surface temperatures. The people of Queensland are sick of hearing the government say one thing and do another. For all his talk of innovation and the role of science, the Prime Minister has failed the nation on the issue of climate change. In fact, he has failed full stop.

The PRESIDENT: The time for the debate has now concluded.