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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1935


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (11:51): I support the Carmichael coalmine and associated rail and port projects in that region. Coal is still a booming industry, which can be seen through the announcements of late by Allied coalfields, which extended their coal leases for another 20 years. The Rylstone coalmine is going very well and the Baralaba North project is now underway. There is a very good future for coal, and I think Adani and the Carmichael mine should be a part of that.

Along with coalmines come jobs. Jobs are so very important for the Central Queensland area. Many jobs come along, and the skilled workforce has diminished over the last 10 years or so, and there are quite a few skilled projects involving workers not existing. This will help fill the void of the unskilled workforce and skill those people up for the future. Adani already employ about 800 staff on site, whether it be in the Galilee Basin or at Abbot Point. They have made purchases of land, equipment and ports in the area, but they are being continually frustrated by the people getting in the road, people such as protesters and the like, as well as by government approvals. They have had the environmental impact statement approved by the federal minister and there are no issues there. They've been well and truly scrutinised over the environment and they've come up to the mark on all points. The jobs are very, very important. If the mine ever gets underway there will be 3,700 permanent jobs. Townsville and Rockhampton are the fly-in fly-out centres, but there are towns in my electorate, like Emerald, Blackwater, Capella and Springsure, that will help with those jobs by having drive-in drive-out workers. It's not that far away from the Galilee Basin.

There are three main coal basins in Queensland: the Bowen, the Surat and the Galilee. If the railway line, which would be a standard gauge—four foot 8½—line, is built into Bowen or Abbot Point, it would open up more country. It would be a shared railway line, which would give benefits to all the people along that 400 kilometres of railway line. I understand that most of the agreements with 36 farming properties, from Clermont and the coalmine through to Bowen, have been approved or are well on the way to being approved by the landholders and Adani. So let's hope, for their sakes, it goes ahead. The four feet 8½ inches line will be the first in Queensland and will of course carry a lot more per axle than the wagons on the three feet six inches gauge railway line as we have throughout Queensland at the moment.

There are 250 million people in India who do not have electricity, and these people need to be looked after. We have our free trade agreements. We haven't had one with India yet. But this is all part of looking out for our friends in India. If we can help them then we're helping the world and the welfare of other nations and our own.

What it will do for our economy is humongous. Gladstone Port last year, 2017, had a record 120 million tonnes of exports—mainly coal and gas, and grain and agricultural products. So that too will add to the Bowen Basin and also to the Bowen area. People up there are really looking forward to this project going ahead. I think their wishes should be considered along with those of other people. They need the work; they need the jobs. They need to see their investments in that area go ahead and expand. This is not happening at the moment. I was up in Bowen only three weeks ago, over Christmas, and things were pretty steady. The people of Bowen are crying out for these jobs. (Time expired)