Thursday, 28 August 2014
Shortland Electorate: Centrelink
In the past month, I have travelled about 4,500 kilometres to meet people in my electorate of Capricornia. This included a recent trip inland to Clermont, Moranbah, Dysart and the Middlemount areas in the agricultural and coalfields region. I flew out to inspect Adani's Carmichael mine site, about 185 kilometres west of Clermont, which will become Queensland's largest coalmine. The company is spending $200 million on developing the mine, plus contributing almost as much again in a rail corridor to take coal to the coast for exporting. I want to reassure the region that in my meetings with Adani I continue to press the need for local people to be employed during both construction and production stages of the mine. I made it clear that I do not want to see all the jobs farmed out to people in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, as has occurred with other Queensland coal projects,.
I met with landholders in the Clermont area about the issue of a coal rail corridor that will run 300 kilometres to Abbot Point, to where the coal will be shipped out by sea. These farmers are not against progress, but fear the height of the rail line on the flat flood plain will cause inundation. I have been assured by the company that there will be more negotiations and better communication and planning with landholders in the coming months.
While visiting Clermont, I had the pleasure of being a special guest at a community afternoon tea hosted by the Clermont branch of the Country Women's Association. The event at Clermont's historic CWA hall offered the chance for rural and town women to discuss issues concerning the community. It was also a chance to share a cuppa and a delicious afternoon tea, for which the CWA is famous. This insightful discussion shed light on many issues affecting people in the bush, including access to health care, aged care and accommodation, and employment in the mining sector. I would like to thank some of the women who engaged in a roundtable discussion, including Elaine Grubb, Denise Campbell, Sandra Strohfeldt, Barbara Nicholson, Margaret Henn, Anne Anderson and Jenny Wilby. I thank the ladies at Clermont CWA for their amazing cooking and hospitality.
Clermont is a great community about five hours drive west of Rockhampton. While there, I took the time to visit local legend Dorrie Appleton. Mrs Appleton recently turned 90, and has been running her local gift shop, Gum Tips, for the past 50 years. I posted a photo of us on my Facebook site, and the reaction proved that Dorrie is a superstar out that way. The Facebook post attracted over 13,000 views and dozens of comments. It is people like Mrs Appleton that have helped to make our rural and regional towns what they are. I also visited Clermont's Monash Lodge for aged residents and met up with 90-year-old Charlie Oats and his wife Margaret, 88. They have been married for 68 years. Charlie is a World War II veteran and donated his war memorabilia collection to— (Time expired)