House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Questions without Notice

Regional Australia

2:53 pm

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Katter's Australian Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Acting PM, Australia applauds O'Brien's CopperString after 20 years of PM Rudd's national energy grid. I built the other grid line in two years, but humility precludes me from spotlighting such extraordinary achievement! Hughenden's owner-occupier thread irrigation, HIPCo, is scheduled for 16 other towns, which means half a million people into golden but empty Australia and untold prosperity for 5,000 farmer-contractor families. Will $30 million be budgeted for HIPCo to draw up tenders, or is it another 20 years?

3:54 pm

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question, and I spotlight his extraordinary achievement.

Honourable Member:

An honourable member interjecting

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

A little shameless! In doing so, I acknowledge his advocacy on behalf of his electorate but, more significantly, on behalf of regional Australia. It's really important that that is done, because the story of our nation is not just written in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It is written in places like Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Newcastle and, indeed, in Geelong. As an inhabitant of regional Australia, I understand how important it is that we do everything we can to provide opportunities for people to make their lives and to raise their families in regional Australia, and that's at the heart of what you are describing in your question.

There are huge opportunities which the honourable member is describing in terms of his own electorate where that development can occur. I say to him, on behalf of the Albanese government: regional Australia is front and centre in how we see the development of our nation. We will continue to engage with him on this.

As to the question of the budget, you'll have to wait until the second Tuesday in May and the words of the Treasurer for what is, ultimately, committed there. I can say that the Treasurer, the Prime Minister and I will continue to work with you to make sure we are delivering the development and the benefits in regional Australia that you are such a keen advocate for.