Senate debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021


Queensland: Water Infrastructure

5:30 pm

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

I rise to provide the Senate with an update on an infrastructure fail. This is not just your average Labor cock-up that they can sweep under the carpet, like the State Bank of Victoria—

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator McGrath, I would encourage you to use language that is appropriate for the chamber.

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

I'm trying to think of a word that we should use in polite company to describe the litany of failures, the cacophony of failures, that exist in the lexicon of Labor's history of just stuffing things up.

I want to talk about the biggest failure, the worst infrastructure fail—it's eye-watering—and that is Paradise Dam in Queensland. The good news is that Paradise Dam is full. In fact the dam is at 102 per cent capacity, which is brilliant. That's 173,940 megalitres of water. Hallelujah! I know this has been welcomed by the irrigators in the broader Wide Bay and Burnett region, but it is an unfortunate case of what could have been. For context, the dam's capacity prior to Queensland Labor permanently reducing the height of its wall was 300,000 megalitres.

We know that Labor just aren't very good at doing anything, really. You wouldn't trust them with the toaster or the remote control, but, when they get near building infrastructure, they are spectacularly incompetent. State Labor in Queensland have been there for a very long time and my party have not won elections. That is unfortunate for the future of my state. What that means is that. when it comes to building infrastructure like dams, state Labor don't do anything, because they need to be, effectively, in a coalition with the Greens; they can only win with those crypto-Marxists who sit at the bottom of the garden. The Greens don't like dams. The Greens don't really understand how plants and trees and crops grow. You need water, and you need dams for that to happen. Because of this bizarre arrangement between Labor and the Greens, no dams have been built. In fact, the last dam was Paradise Dam built by state Labor, so you'd think we'd give them at least a golf clap for that. But, no—they really, really, really messed it up totally.

They've had to take down the dam wall effectively, which means an economic neutron bomb has gone off over the broader Wide Bay and Burnett area, because irrigators have not been able to get a reliable water supply from this dam. Indeed, their water supply, until the rain came, was an allocation of only 22 per cent. The response of the relevant state Labor minister to this was, 'People should pray for rain.' It is insulting to those who believe in a deity to suggest that the economic future of Queensland is going to be based on the scriptures rather than on the state government understanding that they need to build infrastructure to ensure that the state moves forward. Tom Marland from Marland Law in Bundaberg has made sure that the people of Wide Bay-Burnett have a legal case. He is taking a class action to take the fight to state Labor and stand up for those irrigators who have been let down by state Labor.

In other dam news, a few weeks ago I went to the broader site of the proposed Urannah Dam project. It's something that Bowen River Utilities is proposing to build. For you southerners, it's roughly between Collinsville, Proserpine and Mackay. It's going to be so important. There'll be a hydroelectricity capacity to it. There's going to be water for the mining industry and water for crops. Earlier this year, the Deputy Prime Minister announced additional federal funding to complete the business, environmental and feasibility studies for the Urannah Dam project. This project is a great example of what the Liberal and National parties want to do in terms of making sure we have water projects in Queensland. Constitutionally we can't do it; we need state Labor to come onboard, but I refer you to my earlier comments about their relationship with the Greens and why this probably isn't going to happen. It's because federal Labor don't like dams.

The LNP candidate for Dawson, Andrew Wilcox, who is the mayor of the Whitsundays, has committed to support, and fight for, this project. Andrew Wilcox is a third-generation Bowen farmer who understands this project is going to deliver jobs, is going to deliver water security and is going to grow the economy in North Queensland. We're about delivering, whereas Labor are just about talking and they are not even good at doing that. (Time expired)