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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 9015


Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (10:26): Yesterday I spoke in this chamber about the Cairns port and the roadblocks that have been placed on it by the Queensland Labor government. These roadblocks have been put in place purely for political reasons. The Queensland government continue to act in a morally corrupt way by doing the bidding of their federal mates to the detriment of Cairns and Far North Queensland.

I said in my speech yesterday that I wanted to call out this morally corrupt behaviour by the Queensland Labor government. Earlier this week, Cairns state MP Michael Healy hit the media with the latest lie about the Cairns port. Mr Healy said, 'We are waiting for the federal government to tick off and we cannot do anything until the federal government have ticked off on their environmental plan.' Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Healy needs to start telling the truth to the people of Cairns.

What Mr Healy failed to mention was the fact that Ports North, who are owned wholly and solely by the Queensland government, wrote to the federal government on 25 May 2018 asking for it to defer its EIS decision. The excuse Ports North gave was that they wanted to review one small aspect concerning sediment, despite having had at least three years prior to cross the t's and dot the i's. It was the Queensland Labor government, through the port authority, that made that formal request to actually stop the process. Make no mistake about it—the federal government was days away from releasing the final environmental impact statement, but the federal environment minister was required to adhere to Ports North's request.

Oddly enough, this request from Ports North came less than two weeks before the Queensland Labor government handed down its state budget. Despite all of the promises during the 2017 state election campaign by state Labor MPs, less than six months later there was not a single cent in the budget for the dredging project. However, I note the Queensland government did funnel $75 million into the Townsville port. Maybe it's the real reason Mr Healy decided to mislead the Cairns public this week. I suspect he wasn't man enough to own up to breaking a major promise that got him elected. He was, at one point, a respected businessman in Cairns, and people expected better of him. I personally hadn't actually spoken to him about this issue. It's about time Mr Healy and the Queensland Labor government were held to account. My electorate is surrounded by wall-to-wall Labor state MPs who have been dead silent on this issue. They all sit silently by—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr ENTSCH: and watch money flow to Townsville, instead of Cairns, without even raising a whisper.

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): Order!

Mr ENTSCH: It's about time these state MPs started doing their job.

Mr Dick interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Oxley!

Mr ENTSCH: It's high time they started putting the people they claim to represent first. I'll be holding each and every one of them accountable for their actions.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Leichhardt.

Mr ENTSCH: And I appreciate the megaphone responses on the other side!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I understand it is the wish of honourable members that constituency statements continue for a total of 90 minutes. There being no objection, constituency statements may continue.