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Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Page: 6282

Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (19:35): I rise to deliver a long overdue message for the soy latte sipping extreme green activists who peddle their lies to undermine jobs and families in North Queensland. The message is this: the fraud is over; your far-fetched anticoal fantasies have worn out their welcome in North Queensland; your fake news has failed and you have nothing left. The anticapitalists, the socialists, the Greens, GetUp! and the George Soros funded ecoterrorists have thrown up every fairytale, furphy and falsehood they could fabricate in a desperate bid to stop Adani, mining industry and jobs in north and central Queensland.

What a famine of facts we find in their fake news. Fake news was GetUp!'s fundraising emails and advertisements that claimed 'toxic sludge' would be 'dumped on the reef.' The truth is there is no toxic sludge—nothing was ever going to be dumped on the reef. And the dredge spoil at Abbot Point is being disposed of on land at the coal terminal. Fake news was the World Wildlife Fund postcard asking people to donate to help protect the reef's Caley Valley Wetlands. In reality, the wetlands were created by hunters in the 1950s so they could shoot ducks. The reality is that those wetlands are 40 kilometres from the Great Barrier Reef. But the greater fraud was the use of an image of a dredge bucket actually dredging Boston Harbour that deliberately misrepresented the suction technology that will be used on the Abbot Point expansion. Fake news was claiming that the Great Barrier Reef was already damaged by climate change and supporting the claim with a photograph of a reef in the Philippines damaged by a hurricane.

Fake news was claiming that coal is in structural decline, while the local Daily Mercury newspaper in Mackay is reporting on new mines starting up, old mines reopening and much-needed jobs returning to our region. Fake news is claiming one bank after another have refused to fund Adani when none of the banks that they have bullied into that stance were ever asked to fund Adani. Fake news is claiming that Indigenous opposition to Adani has stopped the Carmichael coal project from going ahead when Adani has actually struck six Indigenous land use agreements with traditional owner groups—including the Jiru, Jaeggi, Berrimah, Wangan and Jagalingou native title groups. The Wangan and Jagalingou agreement the fraudsters hang their hat on was approved by a vote of 294 to 1.

Fake news is saying sediment run-off from the mine will damage the reef when nowhere in human history is there any record of water climbing uphill, much less defying gravity for 300 kilometres to climb over a mountain range. Fake news is claiming that only 1,400 direct and indirect jobs would be created by the Carmichael coal project—as if those 1,400 extra pay packets in the regional economy are somehow a bad thing. Meanwhile, the project's headquarters, opening in Townsville, is going to employ 500 people to work in the office alone—before any construction even starts. Independent consultancies report that more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by the project. Fake news is claiming that plane-loads of Indian workers on 457 visas will work in the mines, when Adani has made a commitment in writing to employing only locals and has no desire to source, recruit, train, transport and house workers that would have to be paid the same as an Australian anyway—not to mention the fact that the 457 visa program has been abolished.

Fake news is claiming $1 billion in taxpayers' money is being 'given to a billionaire' for the Adani mine when the truth is that if the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund granted a concessional loan, it would have to be paid back, with interest, and the infrastructure would open up the Galilee Basin for other users who are waiting in the wings. Fake news is the claim of a beach being covered in coaldust when the substance was tested and found to be naturally occurring magnetite, which occasionally washes up on beaches in that area. The major falsehood that underpins and drives much of this fake news is the fallacious claim that digging up coal at the Carmichael mine will cause catastrophic climate change and kill the reef. If the ecoterrorists really believed increased emissions will cause Armageddon, consider this: if Adani does not use coal from Carmichael, it will continue to use dirtier coal that creates more carbon dioxide emissions. Stopping the Adani mine will create more emissions.

So, my message to the activists is this: enough with the lies. If you cannot win an argument without lying, you do not have an argument. Your stock-in-trade lies have made you an irrelevant joke. These activists are mostly southerners and foreigners pursuing their own interests but the message from North Queensland is this: try worrying about some issue in your own backyard instead of stopping the good, honest families of North Queensland from getting a job. Or, to quote a great bumper sticker that I saw earlier this week, let us keep our coal jobs and we will let you keep your soy lattes.