Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout what was a tough election campaign and again for ongoing encouragement as we enter opposition and I prepare to tackle a new role.
The Veterans Affairs portfolio is an incredible honour to help those who have done so much for our country, in a job that I hope I can give my best endeavours to and although in opposition make some sort of difference.
Both my grandfathers served, my father served, and I served so I have some experience, but do not pretend to be an expert in the issues pertinent to the Veterans Affairs portfolio.
Like always, core issues I will focus on will be transitioning service men and women from full-time service back to civilian life or as they call it “Civvy Street”.
Democracy being what it is means you can win elections, but you can also lose them and with the change of Government comes a change of direction. That direction is affected by policy and the alternative government, in this case a Labor Government.
Already we are seeing the Labor party’s view on regional Australia, which is, to say the least, less focused. Plans that we delivered to small regional communities and regional towns they termed pork barrelling. So, let us go through just one of the so-called pork barrelling grants that are now under threat, as well as some of the projects that under Labor are a vagarious parochial ploy to take money out of regional areas and spend in Sydney.
The Building Better Regions Fund was labelled poor governance and shameful, despite the fact this program delivered critical infrastructure to all corners of our nation over several years. Here in New England alone the program has funded fantastic projects such as $15 million to upgrade the Liverpool Plains regional water supply, $2.6 million to replace and upgrade the Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant, $2.2 million to construct roadways, a roundabout and utility services linking access roads to the intermodal freight hub project in West Tamworth, $2.35 million to construct a new centre for Armajun Aboriginal Health Service, Inverell, $1.4 million to redevelop the Tamworth Tennis Centre, and $2.5 million to upgrade the Inverell Livestock Exchange, plus a further $631,000 for Stage 2.
Another major concern I have is our major infrastructure projects. Labor is already calling for further review on the Inland rail. We do not need to review this at all we need to continue building it. The Inland rail has been reviewed within an inch of its life. Review is the delay of future prosperity for Parkes, Narrabri, Seymour, Goondiwindi, and Gladstone.
Dams are also now at risk. The Labor party at the least relies on, or in better terms, is beholden to the Greens and green policy. The Greens do not believe in dams, they are dismissive about rural property rights. They are on a crusade for the planet, and all of these are problematic for regional Australia. I believe that the funding to build dams will now be withdrawn and that is a terrible shame for a country that needs to become as strong as possible as quickly as possible.
The 2050 target comes at a price, and you are now paying for it. You pay for it on your petrol, you pay for it on fertiliser, you pay for it on food, and you most definitely pay for it on the price of power. The power system as you well know is near collapse. We have done this on what might be seen as a righteous but ultimately ludicrous move to cool the planet from a room in Canberra, or a room in state parliament in Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne.
I always find it interesting that a room of people who in majority could not change a tyre apparently can change the climate. In this debate, philosophy has run head-on into physics and the physics and reality of reliable, cheap power has proven that the path we are on, this excessive reliance on renewables does not work.
It is not cheaper as they said it would be, in fact it is astronomically dearer. It is not reliable as they told us it would be, in fact, we are at continual risk of blackouts, and it has not made an iota of difference to the climate we have. Whatever difference we make, China makes up for it in a matter of days. So, this argument will not be won by Politicians, it will be won by fact.