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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3153


Mr CHRISTENSEN (DawsonChief Nationals Whip) (15:46): Today's MPI is intended to be a criticism of the government, but in reality it speaks volumes about the opposition that proposed it. Certainly what spoke volumes was the whining delivery we just heard from the member for Bendigo then. It really demonstrates her lack of understanding when it comes to the economy. The Labor Party subscribe to this economic view that jobs are created by governments, controlled by the government and paid for by taxpayers. That is the only job creation that they can get their minds around. They believe comrades simply need to line up at a government office and have jobs doled out to them by the state. That is the limit of Labor's understanding of the economy: you can fix any problem by throwing money at it, going round and round in ever-diminishing circles until you run out of someone else's money.

A smart government can play a role in direct job creation; a dumb government would give away $900 cheques, free insulation that burns your house down or something else like that. But a smart government would directly create jobs by building the infrastructure needed for new and expanding industries, where business can grow and employ more people. That is what this smart government is doing, because we need an economy with sustainable jobs that do not drain taxpayer dollars. That is why we have invested $6.7 billion in the Bruce Highway, with projects like the Mackay Ring Road in my electorate about to be underway, creating 600 jobs during construction. That is why we are investing in more dam projects like the Urannah Dam project in the member for Capricornia's seat. That will create new industries, new agricultural employment opportunities and thousands of jobs.

Labor need to overcome a major hurdle in their thinking. Governments do not create sustainable jobs; it is business and private enterprise that create jobs. It is the government's responsibility—and I have to say it is the opposition's responsibility as well—to get out of the way of business and create an environment where business can get on with the job of creating jobs.

This brings me to the most telling point yet. I point to the North Queensland and Central Queensland economy, where we have seen the largest job-creating project in this country sitting on the shelf for the past six years. The Carmichael coal project will create 10,000 jobs through its mine in the Galilee Basin, the expanded port at Abbot Point and the railway line connecting the two. The flow-on benefits of the construction and operation are enormous, not to mention the billions of dollars that will be paid in royalties to the state government, and the income tax and GST that will be paid to the federal government. Thousands of pay packets will come into my region, throughout North Queensland and Central Queensland, and there will be spend in the region, which will create more industry, more business and more jobs.

You would think that is the kind of project that would have the wholehearted support of a party that once cared about the worker, that once championed the coal mine worker. They do not these days because in their climate change action plan, which they released this year, they pledged to ensure the orderly transition of Australia's generation capacity from old and heavily polluting coal power to modern sources of clean and renewable energy. They are giving way to the green preference god that they chase, sacrificing those jobs. Thousands of jobs would be created in the Carmichael coal project—not created with taxpayer dollars but by private enterprise; not by government but by business, if they are allowed to do it.

We have got a situation where extreme green activists are abusing the Australian legal process with their own ideological agenda. They are using frivolous legal challenges, or lawfare, to frustrate and delay that project as long as they can. They are desperately hoping that Adani is going to get tired of waiting and simply walk away. If those opposite want to talk about a failure to create jobs they should get up now and talk about their failure to allow business to create thousands of jobs. They have had their chance. The government put forward legislation in this place to say enough is enough. It was legislation to allow legal challenges from those directly affected by a project, but not allowing frivolous political tactics to abuse our legal system for a green agenda. The Greens voted against that legislation, and that was hardly surprising, but Labor came in here and also voted against it and voted against all of those jobs for potential mineworkers in the Galilee Basin. We proposed that that legislation be brought forward again and immediately the Labor Party came out and said that they would oppose it, that they would not support it. So I say to those opposite: do not come in here and lecture us about creating jobs when you are standing in the way of creating jobs. You are happy to sacrifice thousands of mineworking jobs for your own political purposes on this altar of the green goddess Gaia— (Time expired).