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Monday, 23 October 2017
Page: 11531

Flood Mitigation

Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (15:02): My question is to the Prime Minister. Building the south Rockhampton flood levee would protect 1,200 homes and reduce insurance premiums for Rockhampton households by up to $400 a year. Rockhampton council, the Queensland Labor government and federal Labor have all committed to funding it. Will it take another devastating flood for the Prime Minister to commit funding to build the levee and protect Rocky homes and businesses?

Mr JOYCE (New EnglandDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) (15:03): I thank honourable member for his question. I think it is quite a change to actually get a question on water policy. I think it's the first one I've ever got. It's amazing that they would give it on something in Central Queensland. In Rockhampton we have put $130 million on the table as well as the money for the feasibility study to construct Rookwood Weir, and the Labor Party have done absolutely nothing. They have completely and utterly deserted the people of Central Queensland. It's amazing what happens with the Labor Party when they are so completely incompetent in the construction of water infrastructure.

We want to help Queensland out. We've got so many proposals out there for Nathan Dam, Nullinga Dam and Rookwood Weir, and the Labor Party just does not want to engage in water policy. You know why they don't want to engage in water policy? It is because of the Greens. No, they're fighting for the frogs up in Queensland, the Labor Party!

Mr Clare: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The question was about the Rocky flood levee. Answer the question or sit down.

The SPEAKER: The member for Blaxland can raise a point of order, but he will not give directions on what anyone should do in this place if he wishes to stay in here. The member for Blaxland is warned.

Mr JOYCE: I must say he's rather terrifying. We can go on and we can see in Central Queensland the member for Capricornia, with the Yeppoon flood plain and the roads, including the Bruce Highway. She's fighting for Rookwood Weir. The issue is, of course, with the levee bank. Do you want to hear about the levee bank?

Opposition members interjecting

Mr JOYCE: No, they want to yell. The levee bank, of course, is a very divisive issue because you have two lots of people. You have the people inside the levee bank, who want the levee bank, and then you have all the people outside the levee bank. You should go up to Central Queensland and talk to them. They're not so keen on the idea. So the member for Capricornia's doing the diligent work in assessing where the balance of good is—whether we flood more people outside the levee bank or save the people inside the levee bank. In the meantime, you can reduce some of the water going to Rockhampton by building the Rookwood Weir.

But why does the Labor Party always turn its back on blue-collar workers? That is the question that so many people in Central Queensland want to know the answer to. Why is it, with the extra $1 billion of income that would come from the Rookwood Weir, they have said nothing in support of those blue-collar workers? Why is it that, on the back of the thousands of jobs that would come from the Rookwood Weir, they have said nothing for those blue-collar workers? They never stand up for workers and always stand up for the inner suburbs. When we go up to talk about the Rookwood Weir, guess what they want to talk about: Jackie Trad. That's what they want to talk about: Jackie Trad and the Cross River Rail. That's about as close to as they ever get to Central Queensland.

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith is warned.

Mr JOYCE: So we'll stand up for the coal workers of Central Queensland, we'll stand up for Rookwood Weir, and you keep fighting for the wind chimes, old trout.