Thursday, 24 October 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government's stable and certain budget allows us to build water infrastructure, particularly in my seat of Flynn? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Flynn for his question. I have just gotten off the phone with Dr Anthony Lynham, the water minister in Queensland, talking about a range of infrastructure water projects in Queensland. In Queensland the federal government has put $176.1 million on the table for Rookwood Weir in the member's electorate. Of course the member for Capricornia also has a great interest in this project. There is also $47 million, including $5 million of enabling roads for the Emu Swamp Dam in the electorate of the member for Maranoa, the drought minister.
This is going to help drought-proof Australia for the future. These dam projects and these water storage infrastructure projects are going to help build resilience. We're spending $1½ billion on dams. That's right—we're going to build these dams. We're going to get on board with local communities. We've got the national water grid in place. I wrote to the states last October to see them bring their water priority projects forward, and we currently have 21 water infrastructure projects underway—significant dam projects, weirs and pipelines to help drought-proof regional Australia.
In the member of New England's electorate we have Dungowan Dam. In my electorate we are raising the Wyangala Dam wall by 10 metres. It builds capacity. Those two projects alone—Dungowan and Wyangala—are going to provide an additional 1.2 Sydney Harbour equivalents in inland New South Wales. That is significant, that is delivery and that's what we're doing.
Victoria brought forward its priority projects, and we committed to them during the election campaign. There's the Mitiamo and district reticulated water supply project, at $14½ million. The East Grampians and South West Loddon rural water supply projects are significant too, at $32 million and $20 million respectively. Just this week—yesterday, in fact—I was briefed on the idea to build the Big Buffalo project near Myrtleford. I had Peter Walsh, the Nationals leader, and his deputy, Steph Ryan, in my office, and we were talking about that.
The Victorian water minister, Lisa Neville, doesn't want to build dams, unfortunately. She is reading too much from the playbook of her mate over there, the member for Melbourne, and thinking that climate change means it's not going to rain anymore. Well, indeed, it will rain. In fact, when it rains it's going to come in such volumes that we're going to need water storage capacity to help secure that water and to help store that water for the drought that is obviously going to happen after this one, because that's the story of Australia: droughts and flooding rains.
We are a government which is getting on board with building the dams that we need. In South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall is on board with us. Will Hodgman in Tasmania—they built 16 of the last 20 Australian dams in that state. Well done to them! I was visiting Scottsdale the other day, and that is an example of what this government is actually doing.