Plan to abolish government for water projects blasted

A LIBERAL senator has hatched a radical plan to get more water projects approved across Australia, but the idea involves scrapping a whole level of government.

Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick visited councils from the Far North down to Central Queensland in a bid find out what was standing in the way of major water developments.

Mr Rennick believes major projects like Hells Gates dam, reservoirs and flood mitigation would be built if the regulatory process was eased.

The senator believes the Queensland government is regulating water projects out of existence and getting in the way of local councils plans to strengthen the state's water security.

Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick leaves after making a speech in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, June 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick leaves after making a speech in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, June 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

 

In his view, the only way around this would be to abolish state governments and create regional council areas that focus on large cities like Townsville.

"We hit a roadblock with the state government, who basically refuse to produce any water projects here," Senator Rennick said.

He said the ability to fund projects like this could exist through an infrastructure bank, and become a reality sooner rather than later.

"We cannot continue to keep people on JobSeeker and JobKeeper forever," Senator Rennick said.

"If you listen to the words of our national anthem, it's wealth for toil, not wealth for welfare.

"So let's get people in infrastructure projects while we've got international borders closed. "It's a win, win on a number of levels."

Senator Rennick said his plans to abolish state governments would allow these projects to go forward. With regional capital cities like Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, under his plan the regions would report directly to the federal government.

"It is fair to say that Brisbane no longer serves the regions like it used to," Senator Rennick said.

 

Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher. Photographer: Liam Kidston

 

Queensland Water Minister Glenn Butcher fired back and said if he didn't believe in the state of Queensland, he should walk from government.

"If Senator Rennick doesn't believe Queensland should exist he should have the courage of his convictions and resign from his position as a Queensland Senator," Mr Butcher said.

"The Palaszczuk Labor government has a proud record of investing $1.2bn in water infrastructure and planning for Queensland's water needs, delivering 2300 jobs.

"What the senator should explain is why the federal LNP put money on the table for the second stage of the Haughton Pipeline only to take most of it away through a GST clawback.

"Or why it took his government four years to put money on the table for Rookwood Weir."

Originally published as Plan to abolish government for water projects blasted



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