House debates

Monday, 2 December 2019

Questions without Notice


2:16 pm

Photo of John McVeighJohn McVeigh (Groom, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and . Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline the Morrison-McCormack government's achievements on delivering critical infrastructure for regional Australia, including building the Inland Rail? How will the government continue to work in a stable and certain way to address those real issues of importance to regional Australians?

2:17 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

They've all gone too early, like normally. Good Morning Cereals in Toowoomba is owned by Michael and Jill Allwright. They have a wonderful little niche business. They puff organic grain. What they do by puffing that organic grain is make it have eight times more volume than the original grain, which, of course, makes it eight times more expensive to transfer from their Toowoomba factory to Melbourne.

They are going to be benefiting from the Inland Rail, which is going to bring down costs. It was predicated on a $10 saving per tonne. For post-processed food, it's going to be up to a $94 per tonne saving, according CSIRO's report last year, but, indeed, an average of a $76 per tonne saving. That's thrilled Jill Allwright, because she knows that any cost is going to affect her bottom line and that any saving is going to be beneficial to her business. When 20 per cent of their turnover is going into the freight line, it's going to be beneficial for her business to make sure that she has that saving. She's very much looking forward to inland rail coming through Toowoomba. She decentralised that business with her husband, Michael, in 2012—another great regional decentralisation story on the back of a public business taking a risk in themselves.

I was with the member for Groom just last Friday when we signed the intergovernmental agreement with Queensland. Minister Mark Bailey was there with us signing the Inland Rail agreement following on from Victoria. They were first up, and then, of course, New South Wales signed that intergovernmental agreement to allow us to get on with the job of building the $9.3 billion nation-building piece of infrastructure.

It was first talked about in the 1890s, plans were first drawn up in the early 1900s, and it's taken a Liberal-Nationals government to get on with the job of building it. Now that we've those states signed up, this $9.3 billion facility is going to be built. That's going to bring considerable savings, particularly for regional Australia. On the Parkes to Narromine section, $46.7 million has already gone into local businesses such as Calvani Crushing and AusRock Quarries, who are providing ballast. Those two businesses have already benefitted to the tune of around $7 million. It's going to create more than 15,000 jobs. For Queensland, this is particularly important because, of the $9.3 billion, they're going to potentially benefit to the order of $7 billion. This is infrastructure-building at its best, and it's thanks to the Liberals and Nationals listening to people and delivering.