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Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4133

Infrastructure


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (14:39): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on recent announcements of nation-building, job-creating regional infrastructure, including in northern Australia? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dawson will resume his seat. The Leader of the House is warned! The member for Dawson will repeat his question so I can hear it.

Mr CHRISTENSEN: My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on recent announcements of nation-building, job-creating regional infrastructure, including in northern Australia? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of any alternative approaches?




Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of The Nationals) (14:40): I thank the member for Dawson for his well-asked question, and I acknowledge him for his advocacy for Queensland and specifically for the electorate of Dawson. Recently I visited the electorate of Dawson with the member. We visited the Haughton River floodplain area, where there's going to be a project built. There will be more than half a billion dollars—$514.3 million—for the Haughton River floodplain project. Construction of an upgraded Haughton River bridge will include 13 additional bridges, two overpasses, an upgrade of nine rural intersections and road widening.

Mr Perrett interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: The member for Moreton can yell all he likes, but this is an important project for Queenslanders. It's going to save lives. It's going to connect regional communities. But don't take my word for it. Lyn McLaughlin, the mayor of the Burdekin shire, said that the upgrade was long overdue. She said:

This project is not just about the Burdekin. This is a route that links southern Queensland with the North and the ability to access it at all times is vital.

It's vital infrastructure that is being delivered by the Turnbull government. Projects such as the Haughton River floodplain will boost local economies and create jobs. And guess what? We've created—yes, that's right—a million jobs. I said yesterday that it was exciting. A million jobs is very, very exciting.

This government is delivering through our nation-building, $75 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline that is focusing on local jobs. There will be $3½ billion for Roads of Strategic Importance, and $1½ billion of that will be dedicated to northern Australia. The pipeline is going to support 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. Our informed, diligent investment is creating jobs across the nation, especially in northern Australia. As I say, $1½ billion will be dedicated to northern Australia under Roads of Strategic Importance. There will be $600 million for the Northern Australia Roads Program. That'll help Dawson. That'll help all our Queenslanders. Certainly, it's going to create hundreds of jobs. There will be an additional $160 million to seal and widen priority sections of the iconic Outback Way, which is called Australia's shortcut. Indeed, between Winton, Queensland, and Laverton, WA, it's more than just a shortcut; it's a vital linking road.

There will be $180 million put towards upgrading Central Arnhem Road and up to $100 million put towards improving the Buntine Highway. I was in Darwin with Minister Scullion the other day, talking that up. Last week, I visited Northern Queensland with the member for Leichhardt, as well as Senator Macdonald, to talk up the Mareeba-Dimbulah water supply scheme. They're vital projects. There will be $11.6 million put towards modernisation of that project, which will include 4½ kilometres of new pressurised pipeline. That's what we're doing. We're getting on with building roads and rail. We're not just about putting down bitumen to the media releases, as those opposite were when they were in government.