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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1938

Ms O'TOOLE (Herbert) (12:07): I was born and raised in Townsville and I have seen and experienced the impacts of policy decisions, both positive and negative, delivered by federal governments on my community—the community I am proud to represent. Let me say that in all of my years living and working in Townsville I have never seen such a negative impact from job cuts in my community than I have seen under the Abbott and Turnbull governments.

It's all well and good for the member for Dawson to stand in this place and put up this meaningless motion. I call it meaningless for a number of reasons, but the reality is that, when push comes to shove, the member for Dawson says one thing in Dawson and another in Canberra. In Canberra the member for Dawson does exactly what he's told by the Prime Minister. The member for Dawson talks a big game of bravado when he's in his own electorate, but he cowers and follows the Prime Minister when he is in Canberra. His track record proves this. If we're talking about the jobs that this motion is referring to, let's just look at the fact that he has voted five times in favour of the $65 billion tax cut to big business. He has voted against penalty rates, which affects 13,000 people in his electorate. The member for Dawson has supported cuts to education, TAFE and universities, which will hurt James Cook University and Central Queensland University. Cuts to education are job cuts, and they are also the cuts that severely impact on the skill building that Queenslanders will need into the future. The member for Dawson has supported cuts to public sector jobs. The list rolls on.

His track record when it comes to jobs for North Queenslanders is not good. Just a few moments ago I moved a motion against hundreds of job cuts delivered by the Abbott and Turnbull governments to Townsville. I did not hear the member for Dawson speak to that motion. I did not see him fighting against the job cuts that his coalition government has delivered. The question is: where was the member for Dawson when these critical job cuts occurred?

The member for Dawson's motion is insincere and I don't buy it. If he were genuinely sincere in fighting for jobs he would have stood up to the Prime Minister when it counted. He would not have voted to give a $65 billion tax cut to big business and he would have voted to protect penalty rates, but he has not done that.

I made a commitment to the people of Herbert that I would fight tooth and nail in this place for jobs for my community, and my record is quite clearly different to that of the member for Dawson. I have fought for and lobbied my Labor team and have been able to deliver real commitments and real jobs. I fought for the Townsville stadium. Labor was the first to the table on this infrastructure project, and the government was dragged kicking and screaming to the table five minutes before the election. That project is now delivering 750 jobs. I fought for large infrastructure projects that Townsville needs to ensure water and energy security. That is why Labor committed $100 million towards stage 2 of the pipeline that will give us water security and that is why Labor has committed $200 million to support the Burdekin Dam hydro project which will deliver at least 150 construction jobs. I fought for the port expansion project which will deliver $580 million of benefit to our city and jobs, and that was why the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow minister for northern Australia were in Townsville last week committing $75 million towards that port expansion project.

These are the infrastructure projects I have fought for and secured real commitments for. That's my track record, instead of the deafening silence that we get from the member for Dawson when it comes to job cuts. I will continue to fight for quality secure jobs in all sectors of our community from public sector to mining to manufacturing to tourism to renewable energy and in the community sector. No-one will stand in the way of jobs for North Queenslanders. I will never back down from fighting for secure jobs for the people of Townsville.

My position on the Adani coalmine has always been clear: if it stacks up environmentally and financially then it will go ahead. This is a commercial business and it needs to go through the processes that are required. But I will never support one red cent of money to the tune of $1 billion of taxpayers' money going to a foreign billion-dollar company. I will fight in this place every day for quality, secure jobs that the people of Townsville both need and deserve. So if we are talking about opportunities to build jobs for North Queenslanders, we should be talking about the very important infrastructure projects that our communities need.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Bird ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.