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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1929


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (11:30): I move:

That this House:

(1) supports the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project because:

(a) its proponents, Adani Australia, already employ 800 workers in Queensland;

(b) it will open up the Galilee Basin and lead the way in creating as many as 15,000 jobs across five potential mines for the workers of Central and North Queensland; and

   (c) it will improve the lives of millions of Indians by providing their country with affordable and safe electricity; and

(2) notes that the Opposition is now opposed to the project, endangering both existing and future jobs in regional Queensland as evidenced by:

(a) the Leader of the Opposition stating that 'Labor is increasingly sceptical and today's revelation, if true, is incredibly disturbing, and if Adani's relying on false information, that mine does not deserve to go ahead';

(b) Senator Singh stating that 'I believe the Adani coal mine is a big mistake for this country';

(c) the Shadow Minister for Environment and Water stating that the Carmichael coal mine 'will simply displace existing coal operations elsewhere in Australia. There will be jobs lost elsewhere in Queensland or there will be jobs lost in the Hunter Valley … The demand for thermal coal exports around the world is in rapid decline and I think instead we should be talking about other economic developments and job opportunities for North Queensland'; and

(d) the Member for:

   (i) Charlton tweeting that 'Hunter coal mining jobs are endangered by the Adani project'; and

   (ii) Gellibrand stating that 'the reality is, the Adani coal mine has always been something that regional Queenslanders know well: snake oil'.

I'm glad we're talking about jobs in North Queensland—or at least we were for a while, before we moved on to Victoria—as it's very apt considering what we're about to talk about right now. The Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin represents an enormous benefit for Queensland and Australia, raising billions of dollars in royalties and billions of dollars through income taxes and GST. The project will generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, an outcome the greenies are desperate to downplay. I even had one of these extreme greens write to me to tell me the project would create just 1.5 jobs. The truth is that Adani already employs 800 people in Queensland, even before a shovel has been put into the ground. Contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars will sustain employment not only in Queensland, North Queensland in particular, but in other parts of the country, including the already announced $74 million deal to buy railway steel from Arrium's Whyalla steelworks in South Australia. Townsville and Rockhampton will be home bases for workers who will fly in and fly out to what is a very remote mine site, hundreds of kilometres and a mountain range away from the coastline.

The Carmichael coal project will open up the Galilee Basin, creating as many as 15,000 jobs across five potential mines, which is precisely why a multi-use rail line linking to the port should have been funded, or at least financed, by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. I note that Mackay is going to be a logistics hub for this project and Bowen is going to be the railway hub for the project, spreading those jobs right across our region. In India, coal from the Galilee Basin will provide hundreds of millions of people with power, bringing them out of energy poverty—families that have no electricity at all and suffer all the ill health effects of burning dung and other such substances, the only alternative energy source they have, in their homes.

But none of these benefits are supported by the Greens and none of them seem to be supported by Labor. Labor don't support these jobs. Labor don't support workers having these jobs in Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay or Bowen. They don't support the mining service companies in Mackay that want the work. They don't support the Whyalla steelworks, which wants to work. They don't support the infrastructure and economic growth that will come from this project. They don't even support the massive revenue boost that both state and federal governments will get from the opening up of the Galilee Basin. It's no wonder that unions are bleeding members when Labor's doing this. Workers don't want to waste the money they earn from their jobs to fund a party that is out to destroy those jobs. Asked again and again, the Leader of the Opposition has refused to support the Adani project. His weasel words were that the project must 'stack up commercially and environmentally', and then he said:

Labor is increasingly sceptical and today's revelation, if true, is incredibly disturbing. If Adani is relying on false information, that mine does not deserve to go ahead.

It wasn't false information, but he said, 'The mine doesn't deserve to go ahead.' The business community can translate those weasel words into English and they know that, if a weasel says he's 'increasingly sceptical', he doesn't support it. It just means he doesn't have the guts to come out and say it, because he knows that, in doing so, he'd be shafting thousands of workers in Queensland. The shadow environment minister filled in the blanks when he said of the Adani project:

I have a very clear view that the economics of Adani don't stack up, and it would not be a positive thing for Australia for the Adani mine to go ahead.

'Not a positive thing'? Well, the project has already stacked up. It has passed all the environmental approvals that the government gives, so his comment is just a personal view about not wanting the project to go ahead.

Even in Queensland, where the most benefits from the coalmine will come, Labor opposes the mine in favour of green votes. It was the Queensland Labor government itself that applied for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan to build the railway line to the Galilee Basin, and then, under pressure from the inner-city green voters, the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, vetoed the loan and withdrew support for Adani. Labor's federal MPs and senators are also forthright in their lack of support for these jobs. Senator Singh has said:

I believe the Adani coalmine is a big mistake for this country.

She is a Labor senator. The member for Shortland, who is going to speak on this, said:

Hunter coal mining jobs are endangered by the Adani project.

The member for Gellibrand took it further, saying:

… the reality is, the Adani coal mine has always been something that regional Queenslanders know well: snake oil.

Labor's federal leader has even described the employment opportunities being created by Adani as 'fake jobs'. Well, I can assure him that they are real. There are 200 workers receiving pay packets in Townsville. It would be good if the member for the Townsville area, the member for Herbert, spoke up. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Bird ): Is the motion seconded?

Ms Landry: I second the motion.