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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1403


Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Canavan. Can the minister please advise the Senate on any recent announcements that support jobs and growth in the resources sector, particularly in my home state of Queensland?

Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:50): I thank Senator O'Sullivan for his question. Senator O'Sullivan is correct; there have been some recent announcements that will help create jobs in Queensland, particularly connected to the resources sector. Last week I joined my ministerial colleague Minister McVeigh and the member for Dawson, Mr Christensen, in announcing the investments we are making under the Bowen Basin jobs investment package.

We have, as a legacy of the mining boom, a vibrant small business sector which supports the mining sector. Many of these businesses geared up significantly during the mining boom. And while many of them have faced a tough couple of years having to lay off people to survive, they are ready, they are vibrant and they are going to be successful businesses in the future, and that's why we're happy to back them for their next growth phase. We have announced investments for these businesses that will help them diversify.

HMG Hardchrome, which operate in Paget in Mackay—I was there last week—are getting a $1.6 million grant for a $10.4 million program to deliver a world-class industrial hardchrome finishing facility. Mr Warren Smith, the Managing Director of HMG Hardchrome, said, 'We mainly service the Bowen Basin, but this will expand it and we will be looking at PNG. This diversification builds up a bigger marketplace for us and there will be more gearbox refurbishments happening.' Warren said to us that he would be putting on 10 people thanks to this investment from the coalition government.

Other businesses like Diacon Australia already develop innovative technologies for the mining sector, particularly plastic and lightweight mesh safety gear. We are providing them with a $420,000 grant to improve their facilities as well. They say that will help them put on 20 jobs at Daicon as well. All of these investments are going to mean more jobs for the resources sector and a more vibrant small business community, which is great news for Mackay and the surrounding regions.

The PRESIDENT: Senator O'Sullivan, a supplementary question.

Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (14:52): Can the minister advise us how this is benefitting the local community?

Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:52): These investments under the Bowen Basin jobs and investment package aren't just for the resources sector. There is clearly a need to diversify the economy of these regions as well, and that's why we're also investing in other industries to create jobs, including through a $5 million investment to build a new beef processing facility near Moranbah. That project will create 70 permanent jobs in a small country town and also provide an alternative outlet for our beef sector to have their products processed closer to where they are grown.

We are also providing $2.9 million for an intermodal terminal at Emerald to provide an inland freight hub to connect Toowoomba to Gladstone and create more logistics through the inland of our country as well to use those roads and provide jobs in inland Australia. We are also supporting the canegrowers' industry to become more water efficient around the Mackay region, particularly in response to high electricity prices. All of these benefits will mean a more diverse, robust and resilient economy in Central Queensland. We are about creating jobs in this government.

The PRESIDENT: Senator O'Sullivan, a final supplementary question.

Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (14:53): Are there any more opportunities for jobs growth in Queensland and what is standing in the way?

Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:53): There is a lot of positivity in Central Queensland right now. It has been a tough couple of years but the coal price has more than doubled and projects are coming back online, people are being employed, there are opportunities that exist, and there's even more opportunity to open up a new coal basin, like the Galilee Basin. You might have heard of it, Mr President. There are a number of projects there, including the Adani Carmichael project.

We are happy to support investment in this country, because supporting investment supports jobs. But, unfortunately, we've seen a number of statements from the Leader of the Opposition Mr Shorten, which are putting at risk those investments. He seems to say one thing in Melbourne and a different thing in Central Queensland and, ultimately, people and investors pick up on that. Some of you may have seen the ads on TV with Captain Risky, who promotes insurance products. Mr Shorten is acting like Captain Risky right now and no-one will invest in or insure this country if we have leaders who cannot be consistent on their views on major investments.