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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11669

Mr EWEN JONES (HerbertGovernment Whip) (10:58): I want to thank Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt for by re-approving the Carmichael mine. Rarely has anyone ever faced such ill-informed, vitriolic and personal attacks as this man and his staff. It was completely undeserved. The Carmichael mine will provide low-ash, low-sulphur thermal coal to India for the next 50 years. It will provide jobs from the Port of Townsville, along the roads and bridges out to the mine, and back along the railway line to Abbott Point near Bowen.

To develop the North, we need energy and we need water. We have fantastic opportunities to develop our renewable sector, including hydro, wind and solar. Using the $5 billion concessional loan facility, we can build the poles and wires to connect these renewable sectors into the national energy market. But none of this can happen without coal as the anchor tenant. A supercritical or ultracritical coal fired baseload power station in the Galilee Basin underpins our energy needs in North Queensland for the future. We can be a centre of excellence for pollution reduction and renewable energy science, but, without coal, it simply will not happen.

Claims that coal is dead are blatantly untrue. There are over 1,000 coal fired power plants—with an average size of 275 megawatts—planned or under construction across 10 Asian countries as we speak. This will provide an extra 672 gigawatts of extra electricity—24 times that which is produced in Australia. They need our quality coal. This is a vast country. The north receives most of the rainfall, and we have the nation's largest river systems. We need to develop our land so that we can take our place in the Asian century and provide the goods, services and innovation to the fastest growing part of the world. A large part of that will be the science underpinning the water and energy resources that we have. Everything we do impacts on our environment. It is how we handle those impacts which is important.

In Greg Hunt we have a minister who understands the issues and the needs of the environment. He is the man who has insisted on over 300 conditions to operate Abbot Point. He is the man who ensures, with this government, the environment is a first order of business. With over 85 per cent of Australia's needs being met by coal fired power plants, I would suggest that those people, so vehemently opposed to the north developing its infrastructure, protest the dirty, brown coal fired power plant which supplies Melbourne—shut that thing down. Rail against Victoria having a dirty, coal fired power supplier. Practice what you preach. But I bet we will not see it. Leave us alone, as we have always been the environment's best friend and we always will be. I thank the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Southcott ): In accordance with standing order 193 the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.