Thursday, 7 December 2017
Questions without Notice
Yes, indeed I do, and a great call it is, Mr President, could I say! My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Canavan. Can the minister update the Senate on the progress of the Adani Carmichael mine? And is he aware of any risk to this important project?
I thank Senator O'Sullivan for his question—a great fan and supporter of jobs in North Queensland. I can say that we on this side do support these jobs and investment. We support this project going ahead because we want to give North Queenslanders a job. We want to give them an opportunity. There are already nearly 200 people in Townsville at the moment who rely on the Adani project for their job. Just over 100 rely on Adani directly for their job. There are about 80 contractors as well. We've learnt this week that the Labor Party are teaming up to put these 200 people in Townsville out of a job. We've got the former New South Wales Premier and former foreign affairs minister, Bob Carr—Beijing Bob—opposed to these jobs in Townsville. He tweeted this week—
As I was saying, we have Beijing Bob out there who tweeted this week and said he's proud to have played any kind of role in killing the project. I doubt that the former New South Wales Labor Premier has spoken to any of the 200 people who are going to lose their job. He is proud. He is proud of doing that. Those are the kinds of people the Labor Party are now teaming up with. All the roads seem to lead in same direction for the Labor Party at the moment. Former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr is speaking as part of leading the Australia-China Relations Institute. Guess who set up the Australia-China Relations Institute? Mr Huang Xiangmo gave Mr Carr a $1.8 million donation to set up the Australia-China Relations Institute. So you've got Shanghai Sam, Beijing Bob and Premier Palaszczuk all teaming up in a Labor-Greens team to stop jobs in North Queensland. The people of North Queensland now realise who is on their side to give them a job, who is on their side to give them a livelihood. It's over here in the Liberal-National Party. The other side have made their decision. They're teaming up with the Greens to stop these jobs in North Queensland.
Opposition senators interjecting—
Order! Before I call Senator O'Sullivan, senators on my left, we've had a request from the end of the chamber that they have trouble hearing the questions and answers. We have eight minutes of question time to go. Senator O'Sullivan, do you have a supplementary question?
I can. One of the reasons I and the government are so supportive of this project is that it is supported by the traditional owners of the land. It's supported by the traditional owners of the land, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, who are the owners of where the mine is. Those peoples met in Maryborough last year and voted 293 to one in favour of the project, but those over there, the Labor Party over there, want to ignore a 293 to one result and deny those people the jobs.
This week, Patrick Malone, who's a traditional owner from the Wangan and Jagalingou people, said that the land agreements with the mining companies 'are the first time we have been given an opportunity to be partners in the ongoing management of our country'. Who are we to deny the First Australians in this place their opportunity, their privilege—they have the same opportunities that we all have in this place—for a decent job so they can pay their bills, afford to buy a home and afford to put their kids in a good school? That's what we stand for on this side of the chamber.
Opposition senators interjecting—
Not only will this mine provide job opportunities for First Australians; it will also provide thousands of jobs right across Rockhampton and Townsville and the wider region. As I said, there are already 200 people who have a job on this project right now. They risk losing that job if the Labor Party continue to have their position, which is opposed to the project. Over another 120 jobs will be created at a company called Austrak in Rockhampton, building concrete sleepers. More jobs will be sustained in Whyalla, where the steel will come from to build the railway line. This project is a nation-building project.
We have a New South Wales former Premier, Bob Carr. I looked at his Diary of a Foreign Minister. I don't know what his views are on coalmining—he doesn't mention it much—but in this book he mentions his fitness regime 45 times. He says, 'My ambition is to have a deep-caved abdomen defined by deep-cut obliques'. Well, that's very good for Mr Carr. He wants to have a six-pack while denying people in North Queensland the opportunity to even buy a six-pack, because they won't have a job if the Labor Party gets their way and shuts this project down.