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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6452


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (19:11): Minister I have two questions. Firstly, why has the minister refused to fund the restoration of the St Joseph's Catholic Cathedral in Rockhampton? This is a gothic church, the only one north of the Brisbane line. It is undergoing $6 million of repairs. The church itself has come up with about $3 million but there is quite a shortfall. The church was built in 1899 and covers quite a few of our electorates including Capricornia, Dawson, Maranoa, Flynn and Hinkler. The church community is in a quandary and we would like an answer on that please.

The other question concerns water quality in the Fitzroy River, Australia's second biggest river catchment and the source of drinking water for Rockhampton and other towns in the area. Of late, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the standard of the water—the colour and salt content of the water. I put this down to two things. One is the discharge of water out of mine sites—that is, water from mine pits which fill up after floods and heavy rain. The other is groundwater that comes off mine sites and washes into the river, and I am talking about larger heaps of coal. When it rains, there is no catchment for that water and it ends up in the river. The other reason is the Mount Morgan mine. Everyone is aware that Mount Morgan mine discharges water which is heavy in metal, is poisonous, toxic and visually blue and green on all parts of the river. There have been six testing holes in the 60 kilometres of the Dee River until it flows into the Dawson, which in turn flows into the Fitzroy. The federal government grant of a few years, did some good for the—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 19:14 to 19:3 8

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Debate adjourned.