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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 3883

Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (11:54): I'm happy to speak on this motion on mining and jobs put forward by the member for Dawson, who sits in Canberra as a National Party MP. I note that we had one other National Party MP speak and then we had a Liberal from New South Wales and a Liberal from inner city Brisbane speaking on this motion. It indicates how the Nationals in Queensland have completely changed. I grew up in country Queensland. When I was a kid, the Nationals who stood down in parliament were farmers. But look at them now. Among the MPs and senators representing Queensland you've got bankers, journalists, accountants and economists. There are no more farmers who actually understand the bush.

Let's look at what Labor has done. I know that the National Party has forgotten its roots, but let's look at what Labor has done for the bush. I represent an inner-city seat. As far as I'm concerned as a marginal MP, we should be focusing on the inner city, but no. What did we do? We rolled out the NBN. Who benefits from that? Businesses in the bush. Who benefits from the NDIS? The bush. It actually went into Townsville first in Queensland. And of course there was needs based funding for schools—a Labor Party policy. Who benefits most from that? National Party electorates. Every school in the bush benefited. The Labor Party actually has a strong, long history of investing in the bush, but we see the Nationals in Queensland have deserted their base. There are no more farmers in the National Party, no more farmers in Queensland having a voice down in Canberra. It's unbelievable. I think even the Leader of the Opposition in the state parliament is a lawyer from Brisbane. So gone are the days when the National Party used to actually have a voice and a connection to the bush.

We see the former journalist the member for Dawson putting in this motion—yet another example of talking tough down here in Canberra but, when he gets back to the bush, walking soft. They don't understand the bush. I would put the member for Shortland or the member for Hunter, who actually understand the bush, forward any day, because they understand what farmers want. So we see that the Queensland LNP members are putting all of their eggs into the proposal from the member for Hughes. He's putting out one proposal: investing in coal. Of course we have the member for Warringah's idea of nationalising a coal-fired power station and then selling it off. He's a long-term sleeper cell from the socialists, obviously! He's been working on this for 30 or 40 years, letting the workers take over the means of production, and then they'll work on the banks! They'll nationalise the banks. It is unbelievable that these are the economic lights those opposite are following.

I know that capital makes its own decisions, and what is capital doing in terms of investing in thermal coal projects? No-one is stopping capital from investing in thermal coal projects. Instead, capital is shying away from it? Why? You can look at the spot prices, but it is also because of competition. Obviously, I would prefer Queensland coalmines to do this, but we have supply coming out of the Hunter that means that thermal coal is not going to be benefiting from a billion dollars in taxpayer funds. We've seen the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, supposedly set up a few years ago by the coalition government, and as far as I can work out all it seems to do is pay its staff to get on Facebook. They don't actually seem to be turning out any jobs for Queensland.

But let's look at what the Queensland Labor government and the federal Labor Party's vision for Queensland is. Let's look at some of the projects. For the Townsville port channel widening there is $75 million invested, giving 60 ongoing jobs and 120 construction jobs. The Rockhampton-Yeppoon road duplication gets nearly $50 million. That will create 150 local jobs and boost regional productivity. The Mackay ring road gets $100 million and 250 new jobs. The Gladstone port access road gets $100 million and 200 Queensland jobs. The Burdekin hydroelectric dam gets $200 million and will give enough electricity for 30,000 homes. The South Rockhampton Flood Levee gets $25 million to finish the levee, and obviously that will protect households in times of flood. And Labor will allocate $176 million to the Rockwood Weir and also pump money into the Bruce Highway extension, investing in real jobs that deliver economic benefits for Queensland.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Goodenough ): Order! The time 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.