Smoke and Mirrors

Capricornia will only see $1.208 billion in renewable energy projects

As the Federal Member for Capricornia, I have been asked for my thoughts on Queensland Labor’s State Budget and I must admit the term ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is what immediately comes to mind.

An eye watering $15.3 billion in coal royalties has seen the State Labor Government splash the cash in this Budget on major infrastructure projects in the southeast, renewable energy projects and one-off

energy rebates.

All to distract Queenslanders from the cost-of-living pressures they are facing.

There is a complete lack of new announcements for Central Queensland, despite the majority of the coal royalties being derived from the region.

This can be seen as nothing more than a huge slap in the face for regional Queensland.

A classic example of Queensland Labor’s ‘Smoke and Mirrors Budget is that there is for example no additional funding committed for the Rockhampton Ring Road, other than half of the funding committed being put on the table.

On a positive note, the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road upgrade finally has money being delivered after I successfully lobbied and delivered $64 million in funding three years ago.

While the remaining funds for the Rookwood Weir is there to finish this project I spearheaded along with my colleague, Senator Matthew Canavan, and former Member for Flynn, Mr Ken O’Dowd.

The State Treasurer announced $89 billion will be spent on Labor’s alleged ‘Big Build’ across the state.

However, I am sad to say the only ‘Big Build’ Capricornia will see is $1.208 billion in renewable energy projects which will decimate agricultural land and destroy native vegetation that is currently thriving with fauna.

This State Labor Government is blinded by their goals to hit their renewable energy targets and are prepared to sink $208 million into CS Energy to invest in windfarms in Central Queensland.

A further $1 billion has been allocated to the ecological disaster waiting to happen that is the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Scheme.

If their plans align, the stunning Eungella and Pioneer Valley will be set for destruction by 2026-27.

The absolute hypocrisy of this State Labor Government is on show for all to see in the renewables space.

On one hand they claim the resources sector is decimating land, yet they are ready, willing and able to wipe out native vegetation and prime agricultural land to meet their net zero targets.

The gouging of royalties from the resources sector is solely responsible for the State offering one-off electricity bill relief, with more than $15 billion poured into the government’s coffers.

I must say though while the rebate will offer some relief to struggling Queenslanders, what is urgently needed is investment in cheap and reliable energy.

Meanwhile money is being funnelled from the coal sector and into renewables which is notoriously unreliable and expensive, and if you look at the proposed Pumped Hydro project in Eugella and the Pioneer Valley it is an exercise in environmental barbarism.

It is also extremely disappointing to see there is no relief on offer to assist with easing the pressure small businesses are facing every day.

Once again, the engine room of the economy and one of the biggest contributors to government coffers, that being Regional Australia has been largely ignored by a Labor Government.

Are you surprised? I know I’m not.