October 21, 2021

I want to give Queenslanders an update on inland rail. There's been much talk by the government of late but, as is always case with this government, you really can't believe any of it. Minister Joyce has blustered into his new portfolio, and it's clear he made big promises to some of his colleagues to get the leadership back, but, as usual with Mr Joyce, he talks big but the delivery is always lacking. That is always the case with this government.

The first group to be let down by Mr Joyce are those farmers and communities impacted by Inland Rail in the route from the border to Gowrie. There have been multiple media reports indicating that they were abandoned by Mr Joyce days after he took back the leadership. Now Mr Joyce is claiming to be a champion of the Inland Rail going to Gladstone, but it was just two months ago that the LNP government in this place opposed a recommendation from the Senate inquiry asking for the Gladstone option to be considered. In eight years in government, we have seen three previous National Party leaders, including the first incarnation of Mr Joyce, dismissing Gladstone. We have seen cost blowouts and mismanagement. We have seen them ignoring the concerns of local residents along the route. But now they are saying they propose a business case to assess Gladstone. You just can't believe the LNP when it comes to Inland Rail.

So what has changed? There's been the great work of local mayors such as Matt Burnett in Gladstone and Nev Ferrier in Banana. There's been an advocacy group set up by Mr John Abbott and others in Gladstone to advocate for this to be the case. Then there's been the pressure from Labor, led by Senator Sterle as part of the committee, and some of the work that Labor senators have been doing in Queensland. The LNP record on Inland Rail is diabolical: eight years of cost blowouts, eight years of ignoring the community and eight years of failure. You just can't believe the LNP when it comes to inland rail.