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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14100

Mr JOYCE (New England) (13:56): Cyclone Oma could cross the southern Queensland coast very, very soon. That would bring yet another deluge, another massive flood. It seems self-evident, if we have massive floods in the north, a drought in the middle, fish kills and blue-green algae issues in the middle and the Lower Lakes wanting more water all the time, that we should have the mechanism and the skill set to build the Bradfield scheme or a version that does precisely the same job: it brings water from where there's a massive amount to an area that has none.

The other day I was fortunate enough to have in the office Sir Leo Hielscher, who was the head of the Queensland Treasury for 46 years under the Labor Party, the National Party and the Liberal Party. People in that capacity have always said we have the capacity to build this. We would be looking at a cost north of $15 billion, but in the same breath we are looking at similar costs for such things as a bullet train. At nearly $50 billion for stage 1, the NBN could cost somewhere between $60 billion and $80 billion by the time it's finished. We have to be smart enough to rely on expertise such as that of Bradfield, who built the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Story Bridge, to have the same vision projected onto our time as we head into the future. This is something that would invigorate inland towns, provide environmental water and make our nation a greater and stronger place for the future.