House debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022


High Speed Rail Authority Bill 2022; Second Reading

7:20 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (New England, National Party, Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

'Annuit coeptis' is on the reverse side of the US $1 bill, and it means, 'God approves of those people who have the bravery to get things done.' I acknowledge that high-speed rail is an admirable cause, if you wish to get into it. The $500 million that you've put aside is not going to build even a section of it, so I'm a little bit perplexed about what exactly you're going to do with that $500 million. But the test of your mettle will be the Inland Rail and how that goes. I see the minister here, and I acknowledge that the minister now has the admirable task of driving that forward, and that's going to require quite some determination on her part because she's going to get everything thrown at her—every review, amendment, prevarication and change. Unless you actually take up the mantle and say, 'I'm going to drive this through,' it's not going to happen. That will be a test. If you can't get the Inland Rail done—which we're doing now—you've got Buckley's and none of getting high-speed rail done.

The Inland Rail—1,716 kilometres of it—is great for Melbourne, great for Brisbane and great for the development of our nation, but it's also great for Gladstone. You have to push it up into that section of our nation to drive that agenda and to drive the capacity of that city to generate the export dollars that pay for so many of the things that are going to end up on the expense side of the nation's P&L. If we don't understand the logic of how our economy works, then we're not going to have the money for your NDIS or your social security. You won't have the money because our export dollars will not be there. Obviously, if you want populations to live west, then you have to provide the services there, whether it's health, education or schools. This is the social infrastructure that has to be put in place. That's why we drive for things like Dungowan Dam and Paradise Dam—to make sure that the basic infrastructure is in place so that it complements the work of such things as high-speed rail. To do that, you need the advice to government that understands these requirements. That's why it's incredibly important that we have regional representation on the Infrastructure Australia board. If we don't have regional representation, you're going to get an echo chamber of Sydney University views on what the infrastructure requirements are for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and that is not what is going to grow our nation.

I would love to see high-speed rail. I think it will be great. I think it shows vision, and I compliment the Labor Party on that. If you've got a vision, that's great; that's what a nation needs. I look forward to it, and I hope that's the same vision you show in the future with high-paying, high-level manufacturing jobs that give people coming through high school the best opportunity of great jobs and the same vision you show with such things as small modular nuclear reactors. If you have the capacity to build those, then we have the capacity to be part of the global world with Hitachi, Hyundai, Rolls Royce, Westinghouse, General Electric, along with Scandinavia, the United States, China, South Africa, Egypt, Argentina, France and the United Kingdom. We need to make sure that our children and our grandchildren have an opportunity to be part of this new industry which is going to arrive here whether we like it or not because, to cope with high-speed rail and the technology that's required for it, you need the technology for energy as well.

I hope this House has the bravery to leave certain people in this chamber alone and say, 'That's what we're going to do, because we're thinking of Australia.'


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