Monday, 24 November 2014
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Queensland Premier, Mr Campbell Newman, has announced that he will use public money from the sale, or long term lease, of public assets to build a coal railway for mining magnates,
(ii) Premier Newman has already announced that public money will be used to pay for dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and dumping on the nationally significant Caley Valley wetlands near Abbot Point, and
(iii) Queensland's existing industries, our safety, our environment, including the Great Barrier Reef, and our very way of life are at risk from climate change which is driven by burning fossil fuels; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to rule out allowing federal public funds to be used to pay for coal mines, railways or coal ports associated with the Galilee Basin.
Since coming to office, the coalition has done more to protect Australia's Great Barrier Reef than any government before it, including the previous Labor-Greens administration. The ideology of the Greens would see all development of any kind brought to a standstill. The Queensland resource sector is merely their first target. The government is aware of the Queensland government seeking to co-invest in critical resource sector infrastructure and create approximately 28,000 jobs. This is a perfectly normal and responsible approach to encouraging investment and stimulating long-term economic growth. The Australian government is not currently investing public money in the development of these assets. The Greens have been calling for an end to the disposal of dredge in the Great Barrier Reef waters ever since the coalition took office. Now they are complaining about on-land disposal. One has to ask: where it will end?
Labor was not consulted about the wording of this motion beforehand. Labor recently announced a comprehensive plan for protection of the reef and, of course, supports real action on climate change—unlike the government. Passing motions in the Senate that have not been subject to prior consideration is not a substitute for proper management by relevant agencies of the many issues at play. The parliaments of the Commonwealth and Queensland have established agencies to manage planning and project selection, and they should be allowed to do their job.