Thursday, 14 November 2019
It was good of Senator McGrath to dispel the myth that Labor don't build water infrastructure in Queensland. He highlighted some of our record there. The one he forgot to mention was the Traveston dam, which was proposed by the state government. Who was the biggest opponent of the Traveston dam? Barnaby Joyce. He was the one who ran a very hard campaign against it; he campaigned relentlessly against the Traveston dam. And guess what—there hasn't been a big water infrastructure project built in Queensland since Barnaby demolished the Traveston dam proposal. If those opposite want to accept responsibility for their role in making it difficult to build significant water infrastructure in Queensland, they should look no further than their own side and the role that Barnaby Joyce played, when he was a senator for Queensland, in demolishing the Traveston dam proposal. As a result of that, Queensland has not had significant water infrastructure built.
This government came to power six years ago on the promise to build a hundred dams. Guess what—six years later they have not built one. The sad part about this debate is: just because you add '2.0' to something doesn't mean it stacks up. This is an area where regional Queensland and rural Queensland are crying out for help. We know that the drought has had a significant impact in regional Queensland. We know that the economic conditions along the coast are difficult. But this government's track record is terrible. They cannot even make the Kidston hydro project stack up. They can't even make the NAIF work. It has not delivered one job in regional Queensland apart from a bureaucracy, but not even all of those jobs are based in regional Queensland. Look at their record.
Regional Queenslanders deserve much better than smokescreens or pie-in-the-sky strategies that were dreamt up almost a hundred years ago. They need a government that is offering them practical help. That is what this government has failed to deliver on, but it is what Labor will focus on. We want to be on their side, ensuring they can see a future for their towns and regions. That is what the Labor opposition will focus on. That is what the Labor Senate team will focus on.