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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10042

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (14:21): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Mission Beach is a jewel in the crown: jungle, waterfalls, 14-kay beach, Harold Holt's refuge from cold Victoria and home to actress Diane Cilento, wife of 007, and acclaimed artist Helen Wiltshire. Australia lost its innocence when Helen Mirren lost her clothes!

Since there's no safe harbour between Townsville and Cairns, $5.5 million for Yasi recovery went to a safe harbour breakwater. Visitor numbers pre Yasi were 36,000 and now they're 20,000. Twenty-three businesses are gone and a little town is dying. Yet GBRMPA advises that the breakwater is still a year away. Minister, will you be— (Time expired)

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I'll call the minister in a second. There was one question in there. Whilst I allow preambles, can I point out that they need to be connected in some way to the question and not a series of unconnected sentences. But there was one question in there.

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:23): I thank the member for Kennedy for his question. I can't help him with Helen Mirren's clothes, but I can tell him that the Commonwealth will not stand in the way of his request that there be a breakwater at Mission Beach and boating facilities. He knows that GBRMPA, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, has previously, on two occasions, issued permits.

Now, we know that the Queensland government has not progressed this particular issue because they were concerned about community sensitivities. That's a Labor Queensland government. We, on this side of the House, understand how important it is to tourism and to the local community that there be this breakwater in place, and that's why we will not stand in the way.

Mission Beach sits between two World Heritage areas: the wet tropics and the Great Barrier Reef. It's an important source of tourism, it's an important source of funds for the local economy, and the Commonwealth government, under Prime Minister Turnbull, will not stand in the way of a breakwater and boating facilities for the local community.