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Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Page: 1196


Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (19:51): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I want to discuss an issue that is dear to a lot of people in Queensland—our energy prices. I want to discuss the madness we are going through, and I want to contradict and refute the previous Greens speaker, who said that most members of parliament are disengaged. We are not disengaged; we are engaged not only with the people but with reality. Let me show you how.

Neera Creek, near Brisbane, flows into the Brisbane River, and then the Brisbane River is dammed at Lake Wivenhoe. That supplies water to around 2½ million people in Brisbane, Logan, the Gold Coast, Ipswich and Beenleigh, and I believe to Toowoomba, but I'm not sure on that. It's a beautiful valley around Neera Creek.

A Chinese company wants to install a 10-kilometre-long solar industrial complex. Let's not beat around the bush. It's not a farm; it's a solar industrial complex. Leaching out of those panels will be cadmium and lead, going into Neera Creek, the Brisbane River, Wivenhoe Dam and the homes of those 2.5 million people.

Firstly, there's a flood depth there, in a very serious flood, of around seven metres. Secondly, there is currently high-productivity land, rich farming land, not only on the slopes, where there's wonderful beef cattle grazing, but on the creek valley floor, where there is tillable land. They're wanting to take that high-productivity agricultural land and convert it to a low-productivity, low-density solar industrial complex. They're destroying the land. They're creating an eyesore. They're creating a toxic hazard.

Thirdly, they're using our thermal coal—steaming coal—in China to generate electricity for making these atrocious solar panels and wind turbines, and they're using our coking coal to make the steel for the wind turbines. So they're using our raw materials. They're using our steaming coal, they're using it without any subsidies and they're generating cheap electricity. We, on the other hand, are using our steaming coal in this country and generating expensive electricity because of the ridiculous subsidies on the so-called renewables that are really intermittent.

And then the Chinese company buys its solar panels and installs them here in Neera Creek—that's their proposal. And get this: we pay them subsidies to do that here on our land. We pay them subsidies! That raises the price of our electricity and makes us less competitive with the Chinese. So we're exporting jobs. The Chinese are just being very, very smart. There's nothing wrong with what they're doing. They're complying with our ridiculous laws that are driven by the lunatic Greens, the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the National Party. So China is benefiting enormously commercially. Our stupidity is what gives them this leverage.

In 1942 we were in a Labor government federally and Darwin was bombed. John Curtin, the famous Labor Prime Minister, did not send the Japanese a cheque saying, 'You need a helping hand from the Australian taxpayers to help destroy our country and we'll help you pay for your bombs,' but that is what we're doing. We're giving the Chinese a subsidy to help destroy our country.

Then we consider the other lunacy that's going on. We have a Renewable Energy Target that's ridiculous. First of all, it's destroying our electricity sector in terms of reliability and in terms of asynchronous power, and it's adding enormously to cost, further destroying our competitiveness. We have gold-plated networks that are further destroying our competitiveness, because of the way they're set up. We have a retail sector that has given guaranteed returns—again, destroying our electricity prices. We have a National Electricity Market which is really a national electricity racket.

And, to top it off, under competitive federalism the state governments were responsible for electricity. That drove downward pressure on prices and gave us reliability. The world's cheapest electricity is from our coal. Under the current system we have privatised, or corporatised, electricity generators and they're set over by a board that wants to maximise profit, which drives up the price of electricity. This is insane.

One Nation will interact with people. We will help protect all people, not just the farmers at Neera Creek who have come to us, not just the landowners and not just the electricity users but all patriotic Australians wanting our country back. There is no data for a climate emergency. We face a political and sovereignty emergency. (Time expired)