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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2524

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (16:01): It gives me pleasure today to back the member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, in his matter of importance.

Mr Christensen: Where are the Labor members?

Mr O'DOWD: You're quite right, Member for Dawson: there are no Labor members here. That's why I'm—

Mr Christensen: Where's the member for Herbert? Aren't the Adani jobs in her electorate?'

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): The member for Flynn has the call.

Mr O'DOWD: Joel is looking after his own interests in New South Wales. He won't want to speak on Queensland projects.

The Adani mine has been talked about nearly as long as the Nathan Dam was, and it's time we actually bit the bullet and got on with it. Coal is still king and it'll be around for a long time. There are four mines in my area in the Bowen Basin—Dawson, Callide, Rolleston and Baralaba North. They just announced big projects to increase the mining in those mines. There are other boutique mines, too, that, with the price of coal going up and it being in demand, are ready to start in my electorate. Adani, or the Carmichael mine, is not in my electorate, but it joins my boundaries at Alpha in the Central Highlands electorate.

With all this talk about how much it costs for a railway line, those opposite are not looking at the real issues. I've just been talking to Aurizon and other companies. Once upon a time, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the Premier of Queensland, the Queensland government built the railway lines. They were shared railway lines. You could be carting coal, cattle, grain or fuel. When I was a fuel distributor in Emerald, under Joh's law, I could not go to Gladstone to pick up fuel in my own tankers. I had to pay 4c a litre—it would have cost me about 2c a litre if it was in a truck—to cart fuel by rail. That was Joh's law. That's how he developed these railway lines. That's how the electrification of the railway lines came into being—because of Joh's policy. In those days, before electricity prices went through the roof, diesel was getting a bit scarce around the world. In the Bass Strait, oil was being diminished. So his idea then was, 'Let's have a look at both diesel and electricity,' and he put the electrification lines in. They were totally owned by the government, and it charged whatever price it needed to pay for those railway lines. There's a Gladstone-to-Moura railway line that was built in 1966. There's a loop line that goes from Gladstone right through to Hay Point in Mackay. That can take coal in either direction. And of course there's the Moranbah-to-Abbot Point railway line. With a slight adjustment to plans, the coal from Carmichael could be shipped either into Moranbah and down to Abbot Point, or into Capella, down to Gregory mine and then back to Gladstone. So we've got a choice, and that comes in very handy and is very efficient in logistics when there are floods. With the rainfall we have in Queensland, it's either a feast or a famine. When it's a feast, the rain does come, and it's been known to have all the railway lines underwater. That affected the Gladstone Power Station at one time a few years ago when we ran out of coal for the power station.

However, the job at hand will feed into the Indian economy. There are 250 million people who have not got electricity as we speak. Don't we owe them something? If we want to continue with our free trade agreements, it's a two-way thing, you know? So we should be looking at that too. Giving 250 million people electricity is a point I think everyone should feel pretty good about.

We all know about the jobs it will create. There are already 800 jobs there. There'd be permanent jobs for 3,700 in production. In the construction, there'd be tens of thousands of jobs, and then of course there are the custodians.

Mr Christensen: I have a question to you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: A question to me?

Mr Christensen: Yes, a question to you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I'm just wondering if there's something wrong. I just note a distinct lack of Labor speakers on this matter. Is there a problem there? I've never seen that before in an MPI. They mustn't care about the issue.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Dawson will resume his seat.