Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Lots of rainfall across the Wimmera Mallee over the last 48 hours. Will the minister update the House on the investment that the government is making into water infrastructure in the Murray-Darling Basin and around the country?
I thank the honourable member for his question and do note the massive rain that has been happening and also note the flood warnings that are happening for the Glenelg. It is great to be able to announce the water infrastructure that is being delivered. I know that in Sunraysia, and around, well in excess of $100 million has been invested in the Sunraysia Modernisation Project. This is part of the program of making sure that we put real delivery back into the irrigation precincts that are seen around the seat of Mallee. But it is not just the seat of Mallee where this investment is now happening. We are also seeing it in Tasmania, and the recently completed Chaffey Dam is about 67 per cent full, which is actually beyond the former volume that it had, and we will continue on with that work.
It is a shame that the member for Kennedy is not here, because in the next week we will be heading up into Queensland to look at Hells Gate, because it is vitally important that we reflect on what the Australian people want. The Australian people want us to build dams. They see times such as these where there is an excess of water and they say, 'Why don't you store it for when there will be none?' and that is exactly what we are intending to do. That is why we the coalition have $2½ billion put aside for water infrastructure—half a billion in grants and $2 billion in concessional loans. That sits on top of the other investment that we are doing. It is always right and proper that you take your opportunities when they arise.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
I was noting the interjection from the member for Grayndler there and I just note that currently the member for Maribyrnong is away, and say, 'Now is your time to shine.' They are not actually giving the member for Grayndler any questions. There is a form of concern, but that is understandable because you are a talent. The member for Grayndler is a talent. I can see that a lot of people in the Labor Party are starting to ask serious questions—whether the member for Grayndler should not actually be sitting where the member for Sydney is. I can see the member for Sydney is religiously looking down, pretending that this is not happening, but it is—your neighbour going for the job, going for the big job. It is incredibly important that the opportunities arise. So we look forward to a question from the member for Grayndler. We look forward—
The Deputy Prime Minister will just pause for a second.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
The member for Grayndler will cease interjecting.
Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—
The member for Hunter will cease interjecting. As members I hope now know, I try to be practical in these circumstances. I allow a brief detour, but we need to get back on the highway straightaway, onto the substance of the question.
The only way we are going to hear from the member for Grayndler is via interjections, because they are just not going to give him a question. But it is very important that we continue on, and in the coming week we will be going back up into Queensland to make sure that we build on the water infrastructure projects, to make sure that the member for Kennedy and the interests that he has in Hells Gate dam are further enunciated, further planned, because it is this side of the parliament which is actually going to build the water infrastructure. (Time expired)