Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Groom Electorate: Infrastructure
Earlier this week I had the great honour of delivering my maiden speech here to the House of Representatives, and I took the opportunity to talk about the many challenges and opportunities that face the people of Groom, whom I represent. These are both exciting and complex challenges. I know full well that it will require local, state and federal government levels of responsibility to work together to address these challenges and opportunities and bring them to fruition. So, as the new member for Groom, I have been particularly pleased to receive visits from a number of cabinet ministers to my electorate to discuss both these opportunities and these challenges.
Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for the Environment and Energy, has visited me recently to discuss both the resources sector, which is particularly important in our part of the world, and environmental impacts of some of the proposed developments. Senator Marise Payne, as defence minister, has done me the great honour of visiting Toowoomba, and in particular Oakey, the site of the Oakey Army Aviation Centre, to discuss the challenge of water contamination from the PFAS chemicals contained in firefighting foams previously used by the Defence Force on that base.
I have also entertained a number of visits now from Darren Chester, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. He and I have talked about the significant federal government investment in the Warrego Highway upgrades, particularly just west of our city; the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a $1.6 billion project to provide greater connectivity from the western parts of Queensland and the northern parts of New South Wales through, particularly, to the Brisbane port for export opportunities; and, of course, the Wellcamp Airport, which is totally privately funded and developed but greatly assisted and facilitated by appropriate federal government support in terms of air access around the Oakey Army Aviation Centre and giving it the same status as other major airports in the country for international freight purposes. I will be discussing the necessary emergency services support facilities in line with others across the country with the minister going forward as well.
The point I want to make about all those exciting opportunities is the need for ongoing consultation from scientists, bureaucrats and decision-makers. My community is excited and in some cases challenged, but we need proper consultation with everyone involved. I use the example of Nexus constructing the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. Emergency access where the road is going to be blasted has been of concern for some locals. They simply want to be consulted properly. ARTC is working on the exciting inland rail route across our region. Again, they simply want to be consulted properly about where the route will end up, given that project will happen. Resource development opportunities in the CSG and coalmining activities again require proper consultation, as does Defence's activities in attempting to address that water contamination that I talked about a few moments ago. So I say to all: Groom is excited. In some cases, like elsewhere, we have to deal with our challenges, but we require proper consultation. Whether it is seen by others to be a majority view or a minority view, everyone has the right to have their say, and I ask everyone to respect my community in that regard. Thank you.