Thank you to those who attended my first community forum in the North of Mackellar on 20 July. It enjoyed receiving your feedback and answering your questions. Although we might not have agreed on every topic, having these discussions is important. Decisions made in Canberra affect you, so I am always looking for feedback.
If you couldn't make it, below I have synthesised the three main issues which were raised at the forum. To see when my next forum is, please visit my future events page. You can also watch my inaugural speech to Parliament to find out what my vision for our community is.
Adani Carmichael project
Based on my conversations in our community and the views expressed at the forum, it is apparent that the majority of our community are concerned about the Adani Carmichael project in Northern Australia. I am making your concerns heard in Canberra and in the Government Party Room.
Equally, other communities around Australia are overwhelmingly in favour of the Adani Carmichael project. The project has support of North Queensland Mayors, trade unions (such as the AWU and the CFMEU), the Liberal National Party of Queensland and the Queensland Labor Party.
The Adani Carmichael project will create 3,900 direct jobs in operation. The total number of jobs including indirect employment is approximately 11,800 jobs. This is one of the main reasons this project is receiving support in other communities.
The concerns regarding the project are environmental concerns. The Queensland State Labor Government and the Federal Government have placed more than 300 strict environmental conditions on the project. The project is also approximately 300 kilometres inland from the Queensland coast and mining will not have any direct impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.
If you would like further information on the Adani Carmichael project, please let me know and my office can provide it.
I will continue to make your concerns regarding the Adani Carmichael project heard in Canberra.
You have raised concerns with me regarding increasing energy prices. My priority is to ensure energy affordability and reliability. The Turnbull Government is taking a technology-neutral, non-ideological approach to energy policy. The Finkel Report, which was an independent review into the future security of the national electricity market, was recently released. The Turnbull Government is considering the report.
In the meantime, the Turnbull Government will legislate to remove the ability of networks to appeal the merits of decisions of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). This will remove the ability of regulated energy network companies to game the system at the expense of consumers. This reform is critical as network costs make up around 40 to 50 per cent of the household bill.
We have also finalised tough new regulations in the gas sector to give Australian customers priority access to gas supply before it is exported. This commenced on July 1. We continue to call on states and the Northern Territory to drop their mindless bans and moratoria relating to gas. Gas is an important transition fuel, having at least half the emissions of coal. We also need more gas and more gas suppliers to increase competition and drive down prices. We have also agreed, through COAG, the most significant reforms in decades to gas markets to increase liquidity and transparency, including in gas transportation.
Labor is pursuing a dangerous mix of policies that will hit energy affordability and reliability. Labor is pursuing a 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030; a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030; an Emissions Intensity Scheme which will increase prices; and the forced closure of coal-fired power plants. Labor has no plan for energy security and affordability. Together, their policies will wreak havoc on Australia’s households and businesses, including the 900,000 Australian workers in manufacturing.
Investment in infrastructure – roads, public transport and population growth
You raised concerns around traffic congestion on the Northern Beaches and the prospect of congestion worsening with population growth and new housing developments.
In relation to population growth, the Turnbull Government's reforms of the 457 visa program is targeted to ease foreign worker intake and ensure that local jobs go to locals.
In terms of infrastructure, the O’Farrell, Baird and Berejiklian Governments are the best friends the Northern Beaches have ever had. Under the Labor Government, they imposed a target of a 100,000 new households on the Northern Beaches, planned to sell half of the Mona Vale site, closed a high school, closed a TAFE, and provided no new investment in infrastructure or public transport.
Only Liberal Governments deliver for the Northern Beaches. We are seeing the construction of a new hospital in Frenchs Forest, $500 million in roadworks in Frenchs Forest, $500 million on the B-Line, $150 million to duplicate Mona Vale Road, $14 billion on the Beaches Link tunnel, and the list will go on.
I will continue to fight for more funding for infrastructure on the Northern Beaches. I will always fight to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is in place before any new housing development or population intake is permitted to proceed.
I am always looking for volunteers who can help me reach out to our community. Every hour helps, and it's a great way to meet like minded people.