Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Queensland: Dams

7:45 pm

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Labor continue to fail Queensland farmers. First, they made the decision to destroy Paradise Dam, in what is Australia's greatest infrastructure fail. They have refused to even consider repairing the wall to the full height, leaving farmers high and dry, and now they have no plan for water security in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, again kicking the region's farmers right in the guts. You just have to ask Tom Marland from Marland Law, who's running the legal action against the Queensland government, as to how low this government has gone. The farmers who once relied on Paradise Dam are almost down and out. Meanwhile Queensland Labor have the audacity to rub lies in their face by refusing to tell the truth about any future plans for the region. These farmers have battled drought, fire, flood and, in some cases, pestilence, yet the reprehensible actions of Queensland Labor have reduced water allocation to as low as 16 per cent, crippling the farmers' ability to produce crops in the coming seasons.

If this were not dire enough, the Queensland water minister showed his true colours last week when he was asked how the Queensland government intended to assist farmers with reduced water allocations. Glenn Butcher, who is the minister in question, said that he was expecting greater rainfall this year. So there it is, folks: Queensland Labor's solution to the drought situation in Queensland, to the lack of dam building in Queensland, is that their water minister is going to do, basically, a rain dance. He's going to put on a grass skirt and a coconut brassiere and shillyshally all around George Street, hoping that it's going to rain in Queensland. He's not going to build dams. He's not going to rebuild Paradise Dam. He's going to act like some deranged feral minion, dancing all around the place and hoping it rains. Minister, two-thirds of Queensland is in drought. Your government's actions in the Wide Bay-Burnett region have effectively let loose a neutron bomb of $2.5 billion worth of damage to the economy. Instead of sitting down with the community in the Wide Bay-Burnett region and talking about how to rebuild the dam wall, the Queensland Labor government just want to go and play politics. I say, 'Shame on them.' This is destroying people's lives. It's destroying the lives of farmers and it's destroying the lives of those in the towns in the Wide Bay-Burnett area.

Labor still don't have a plan for water security across Queensland. If we don't start doing something about water storage capacity in Queensland, our water storage capacity is going to fall by 30 per cent before the decade is over. Tasmania has built 16 of the 20 dams in Australia over the last 20 years. We need dams in Queensland. I don't care if it's a dam, a weir or a large pond; I just want dams built in Queensland. I want the Queensland Labor government to stop worrying about—

Senator Chisholm interjecting

Senator Chisholm has woken up over there. Welcome back to daylight hours, Senator Chisholm. Your mates in state Labor are refusing to build dams in Queensland because they hate rural Queenslanders, they hate those people on the land. The only way state Labor ever get into power is by sucking up to the Greens, because they know they can only get into power with the Greens' preferences. No dams are ever going to be built in Queensland while Palaszczuk remains Premier, especially with this shillyshallying, rain-dancing water minister who believes the answer to water security in Queensland is not building dams but pretending he's some sort of shaman and dancing around the place.

This is ridiculous, ladies and gentlemen listening at home. This is modern Labor. They don't want dams built in Queensland, because they're all concerned about Greens preferences. I say to everybody: only the Liberal National Party believe in dams and only the Liberal National Party want to build dams in Queensland. We say to state Labor: 'Stop playing politics. Do the right thing by the people of Queensland and build dams. Be on the side of the farmers. Be on the side of the people who want to make our state a better place, not those moss munchers who live in South Brisbane. (Time expired)