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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1094


Dr McVEIGH (Groom) (10:46): Just last week we had a great visit from the federal Treasurer, the honourable Josh Frydenberg, to the electorate of Groom. We had a very significant Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce event: a business breakfast with well over 200 people in attendance. I took the Treasurer to inspect works on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. We visited InterLinkSQ, an intermodal freight facility under development adjacent to the inland rail alignment, just to the north-west of the city of Toowoomba. We visited the Pulse Data Centre, the first Tier 3 data centre in regional Australia, and, adjacent to the data centre, ATLAS, the emerging innovation centre particularly focused on ag-tech that will get behind research and development led by the private sector. Prior to his departure, I was able to show the Treasurer the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, the iconic airport that now connects our region to the world.

The Treasurer in his former capacity as Minister for the Environment visited the Groom electorate in September 2016—so almost three years ago—to consider final required approvals from a Commonwealth perspective under the EPBC Act for the New Acland coalmine stage 3 proposal, which is still being considered by the state Labor government some three years later. This recent visit reminded me very clearly, and I guess it also displayed for the city of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs very clearly, that we are experiencing significant hold-ups on some major projects in relation to the state Labor government.

The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing—at a cost of $1.6 billion, with 80 per cent of that funded by the federal government but being managed by the state government—is almost complete, but our community still doesn't know when it's going to be open or how much the toll is going to be. On inland rail, whilst Victoria and New South Wales have signed intergovernmental agreements with the federal government to get the project going, the Queensland state government has not. For New Hope stage 3, as I've said, we're still waiting on state government approval some three years after federal approvals were provided—and the Oakey Together Street Parade this weekend will focus on that very fact. I say to the state Labor government in Queensland: at the last federal election, just a few months ago, we had a resounding result. Our community spoke so very clearly about these projects, the need to get on with infrastructure and the need to support our community. The Oakey Together Street Parade this coming weekend will be a parade through the township of Oakey, celebrating its heritage but also recognising pending job losses from New Hope if those approvals don't come through in time, and recognising that the state government needs to get on with it.