01 Nov 2012 Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (8.16 pm): I also rise to support the Surat Basin Rail (Infrastructure Development and Management) Bill 2012.
Madam Deputy Speaker, you might be surprised as a fellow Gold Coaster that, as a member of the committee that investigated this particular bill, I have a keen interest in activities in the Surat Basin. It was my intention to speak at length about this matter, but I think the Deputy Premier has discussed this matter quite succinctly in his speech, so I will limit my remarks.
Ultimately, the Surat Basin Rail project proposes to construct a 214-kilometre southern line between the towns of Wandoan and Banana. The Surat Basin Rail link has been called the ‘missing link’ for some time, but I see the project as the ‘critical link’ to the future prosperity of the state of Queensland.
It is a critical link because the Surat Basin railway will help unlock an estimated four billion tonnes of coal reserves in the Surat Basin for large-scale, open-cut mining and for subsequent export through the port of Gladstone. It will also create employment for many Queenslanders during the construction and operational phases.
There are benefits for my electorate of Burleigh associated with the opening up of the Surat Basin region by rail. Those benefits are associated with the possibility of fly-in fly-out work in the mines that will expand into the region. The electorate of Burleigh is strategically located in close proximity to the Gold Coast Airport which, as we all know, is Australia’s sixth largest airport. The Gold Coast is also the home of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
While the federal government sits in Canberra trying its hardest to strangle the mining sector and to send investment overseas by levying extra taxes and red tape, it is the Queensland LNP government that has taken the initiative and attracted investment through private sector collaboration. With the commencement of this rail project, the next stop for Queensland is increased prosperity.
I congratulate the Deputy Premier on the timely manner in which he has brought this bill before the House.
I also congratulate him on the consideration that he has given to our committee’s recommendations and the fact that he will move amendments because of those recommendations.
I commend the bill to the House.