Adjournment Debate – 12 days of Christmas
Mr PITT: Can I acknowledge the contribution of the member for Blaxland, which is incredibly important to all Australians. It is a fantastic message that I hope they all heed, and I wish him well in his recovery.
But back to the issue of the day. The 12 days of Christmas approach, and for those people I represent in Hinkler, the things that we need for those 12 days are the ones we need from the Labor state government—Premier Palaszczuk’s government in Queensland. At No. 1 we have the Paradise Dam, and all we ask for is transparency. Tell us what is wrong with the dam and what you plan to do about it other than send 105,000 million litres of stored water down the river—105,000 megalitres in a drought. Gift wrap that one for us.
No. 2 is the Hinkler regional deal. Sign up and put that one in our stocking. There is just a lousy $9 million on the table right now from the state Labor government. We certainly need more. No. 3 is to build a multiuse conveyor at the Bundaberg port. It is 100 per cent federally funded. All you have to do it build it. No. 4 is the demaining of Quay Street in Bundaberg. The federal government has $32 million on the table; the state government, zero. We need Annastacia Palaszczuk to step up and start to put some things in the Christmas stockings of the people I represent.
At No. 5 is a $750,000 prefeasibility study for the port of Bundaberg. It is a look at whether an outer harbour is feasible, at the potential for larger ships to use the port and at more use of our local port, because it is the port of Bundaberg which will help drive our local economy into the future. At No. 6 we have the Urraween Road extension. Federally, we’ve committed $7.7 million and the local council has put up $7.7 million, but Premier Palaszczuk and the Queensland Labor government, once again, have put in zero. They have put not a single dollar towards the road extension, which is an important extension for the people of Hervey Bay. No. 7 is the level 5 hospital in Bundaberg. It’s been talked about, talked about and talked about. Planning has commenced—I have to say that that’s a positive—but we are yet to see an announcement on a location or a commitment of funding. This is a level 5 training hospital for the people of this region. It could help to service up to 300,000 individuals in Central Queensland. There are very few more important projects than this one.
Vegetation laws I know are close to your heart, Mr Speaker, and come in at No. 8. In Queensland at the moment we just want common sense on bushfires. The Queensland Labor government has put in place vegetation laws which mean you can only clear 20 metres—just 20 metres—from a structure without a development approval. That is 10 metres on either side of a fence. Mr Speaker, I know that you know that if you’re standing in front of a 60-foot raging inferno with a 30-knot wind up its backside you’re not stopping it with a garden hose. So we say to those in power in Queensland: ‘Just do something that matters.’ These laws would have been introduced across the country if those opposite had been elected in May 2019. We need to back-burn. It is the way we have managed these risks for a very long period of time. Let’s bring some sense back to the debate.
At No. 9 we have cheaper electricity. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve called for this in this place. In regional Queensland there is one provider, the Queensland state government. They own 70 per cent of the generators, they own all of the transmission and they own all of the distribution. Our local farmers and consumers are desperate for relief. They simply can’t pay any more. Cheaper electricity is certainly on our list. At No. 10 is a power upgrade for the state controlled port of Bundaberg. We’re doing everything we can to expand the port, but it is limited in capacity. We need an electrical upgrade. Once again, it’s all owned by the state. It’s a state owned port and there is state owned responsibility for power. No. 11 is water infrastructure. The Labor member for Maryborough has admitted that funding might have been spent on water storage, but he used it on other projects in his electorate. The Queensland state Labor government will take any opportunity to not build water infrastructure for the people I represent. I say to them once again: ‘Get on board and build what is necessary. We need to improve water reliability in our region.’ We can pop that one on our Christmas card. At No. 12, on the 12th day of Christmas, Premier Palaszczuk gave to me a partridge in a pear tree, because I think that’s probably just as likely as them delivering on the other things that I’ve called for in this House today.
The Queensland Labor government are broke. We’ve just had to prop them up with nearly $700 million of additional infrastructure funding because they cannot get Queensland moving. I say to the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk: don’t be the Grinch this Christmas for the people in my electorate. We do like coal up our way, but we don’t want to see it in our stockings. There is an opportunity for Premier Palaszczuk and the Queensland Labor government, once and only once, to do the right thing. You’ve never done it before. Now’s your opportunity. Deliver what we need for our economy.