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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 13037

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (09:48): I want to talk about the development of the resources sector in my electorate, particularly in the Surat Basin, and the new job opportunities that is bringing into the communities, particularly for young people, who in the past have been our greatest export from western Queensland to the cities, where they go in search of jobs. We now have an opportunity for young people to get jobs that pay well so that they can remain in our communities of western Queensland, close to their families.

With the growth, of course, come great challenges. I will give you a snapshot of the sort of growth that we are seeing in the Surat Basin with the development of the coal seam gas industry and the coal industry to follow. My own home town of Roma three years ago would have had 10 flights into the town a week. We are now getting 55 flights a week, largely with the fly-in fly-out people servicing the development and the growth in the construction phase of the coal seam methane gas industry. But this growth is going to continue, because there will be people permanently located in these communities once the construction phase ramps down. There will still be significant numbers of people remaining—subcontractors and the people who continue to develop and manage the resource areas in the Surat Basin.

The Western Downs Regional Council—in a town of 1,700 people—recently had to release 1,200 housing blocks. Those towns have not seen growth like that ever. They have got to build 500 houses per year for the next four years in one community alone to cater for this extraordinary growth, creating job opportunities and of course wealth for this great nation as well.

There has been a failure to plan for this growth in the past. I refer now to the Warrego Highway and the corridors that are needed for this expansion that is just unprecedented in our communities. We have got to see a four-lane highway constructed from Toowoomba right through to Chinchilla. The Warrego Highway goes through the town of Dalby and it is not unusual to see 50, 60 or 70 trucks lined up at the lights going through the centre of Dalby, mixing with the local traffic and children returning from school to their homes. Tragically, in the last three weeks on the Warrego Highway, we have seen two people lose their lives—because of this extraordinary growth. I want to see my LNP government in Queensland and the minister responsible to start the planning for an alternate route through Dalby and upgrade not only the highway immediately between Dalby and Oakey to four lanes, and passing lanes at least, east and west of Dalby through to Chinchilla. It is a frustration, I am sure, that adds to people's anxiety from time to time. I am calling on the government to plan for future growth— (Time expired)