Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Capricornia Electorate: Energy and Water
It's been a while since we were all back in parliament, and it certainly is good to be back to represent the great people of Capricornia. The recent break from parliament has provided a great opportunity for me to get back to these wonderful people and spend some time around the electorate.
Getting up to Collinsville was a key priority during this break. It is home to one of the country's oldest coalmines. For almost 100 years, the Collinsville coalmine produced high-quality Bowen Basin coal to power Australian homes and industry needs. Until recently, Collinsville was also home to the most northern coal-fired power station in the country. The 180-megawatt power station not only delivered much needed electricity to the north but good solid jobs for hundreds of locals.
Collinsville's role as an energy hub continues today. While the coal-fired power station has long since closed, the Collinsville Solar Farm takes up some of the production slack left behind. This new 42-megawatt solar farm includes 166,000 solar panels and produces enough energy to power nearly 7,000 homes. Within a stone's throw of this plant lies the energy giant of the area, Collinsville Mine. Now operated by Glencore, the Collinsville Mine produces some of the world's best-quality thermal and coking coal, perfect for making strong, sturdy steel and for powering the industries that create the jobs and wealth for the nation. The story of energy in Collinsville is a long one, and promises to continue for many years to come. Whether the energy source is dug from the ground or collected from the sky, there is a great future for Collinsville to continue delivering the power the north needs.
While electricity is one side of the prosperity coin in the regions, the other is certainly water. Water infrastructure has dominated my agenda in this place since I arrived in 2013. The success we had in shaming the state government into matching our commitment to build Rookwood Weir meant delivering thousands of jobs for Central Queenslanders.
This does not mean my fight for water infrastructure is over, though. A suite of other potential water infrastructure projects across Central Queensland are in my sights. The Connors River Dam, south of Nebo, and Urannah Dam, upstream of Collinsville, offer superb opportunities to build the economies of our interior by further invigorating the energy, mining and agricultural sectors, and driving jobs. We have backed the Urannah Dam project by funding its feasibility study—a study which, I'm sure, will highlight that more water for the Collinsville area will mean more production, more jobs and more opportunity for a better future for Central Queensland.