Don't mine us: We'll fund the SE
FLYNN candidate Ken O'Dowd sees the Central Highlands as a rich bowl of resources that he's sick of being ‘prostituted' to fund the south east corner.
“I'd like to bring some more infrastructure projects to reality on the Central Highlands and not just talk about them but actually do something out here,” he said.
“There are roads in the Highlands that need attending to and the maintenance of roads, that's the main thing I got out of last night's meeting.”
Mr O'Dowd and Senator Barnaby Joyce were touring the Highlands this week and attended meetings with the Emerald and Blackwater branches of the Liberal National Party for Queensland.
“Our main thing is jobs and the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme); we are dead set against the ETS because Emerald is a very (integral) part of the seat of Flynn,” said Mr O'Dowd.
“There is so much of the Australian economy based in the Flynn area and Emerald is right in there with the coal and the cattle, the grain, the cotton, and all that makes up a big rich bowl.
“Over the past we're not getting a fair return of the infrastructure back to Emerald.”
He and Mr Joyce believe in order to attract more people to the region the government needs to invest in the roads network, health care and infrastructure.
“Emerald is a town that is growing exponentially; Emerald has the capacity to grow much further and it will,” he said.
“It is vitally important even for the south east corner of our state that we start to move people into new areas and Emerald has the capacity for the employment, the resources, it has access to a major port and it has a reason to grow.
“We have now in the history of our nation a massive boom for minerals, and we've got to make absolutely certain that when the minerals go and at some stage they will that what is left behind in Emerald and Blackwater is a benevolence and a legacy to all the people who come afterwards that there's something really substantial there.
“My role is to make sure that the area's not just prostituted for its resources then left wanting.”
Mr Joyce said he would also be wave the flag for the landowners in the Golden Triangle who are facing the loss of their land and livelihoods because of mining.
Mr Joyce said the issue was far greater than our rich pocket of soil.
“This concerns me,” he said.
“As we speak I have an enquiry up on behalf of the people of Queensland talking about property rights, and the property rights of the people who bought the land believing they had in perpetuity.
“We have to acknowledge in this nation that long after the coal is gone we don't want our prime agricultural land gone as well because we can't get it back.
“Only God can give you back your prime agricultural land.”
Mr Joyce believes people from our region should get into contact with other regions affected by the same threat of having their agricultural land taken away by force.
He said by uniting, the landowners would force Australia's attention to the issue.
“The way you work things in Canberra is to turn it into a political movement and to bring other people along that's why we have a senate inquiry going on as we speak,” he said.
“We are going to focus the Australian people's attention on this: ‘If you can't eat, every other problem pales into insignificance.”