Canberra Report - Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Canberra Report - Wednesday, 12 February 2020 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

12 February 2020

Mother Nature has again shown her unpredictability and fury with flooding occurring in parts of the Hunter. Sadly, while there are floods and disrupted transport in some places, the rains have not been drought-breaking in other parts of the State. But they are a welcome start.

But whatever the weather does from here, our region and those who live here will need a lot more government support to overcome the challenges we now face following years of drought, the shocking fires and now, the impacts of the Coronavirus. I have told the parliament that in regional Australia we can start with a recovery, but we’ll then need a regional reconstruction. I will continue to put that view.


I have been approached by sporting groups which were over-looked for a Federal Government grant under the controversial scheme which has been the subject of intense media coverage and parliamentary debate. Understandably, groups that missed out are upset and they are entitled to be. Last week Labor moved a motion in the Parliament calling on the Government to fund the projects which missed out despite being recommended by Sports Australia.

During the upcoming Senate inquiry into the scheme, we hope to find out which sporting clubs did not succeed in their applications, but in the meantime I invite groups that missed out - and didn’t include me in the application process – to let me know.   


The first week of the new Parliamentary year was an interesting one with a showdown occurring in the Nationals Party Room prior to the first ringing of the bells.  I suspect that internal tussle has some way to run yet.  History tells us that close leadership ballots are always followed by another contest.  Watch this space.


The push by some to build a tax-payer-subsidised coal-fired power station in North Queensland is more than passing strange. Queensland does not have an electricity generation short-fall; it produces almost twice as much electricity as its residents and industries consume. Queensland also has the youngest fleet of coal-fired generators in Australia which means those assets will be generating power for many decades to come. Queensland does not need a new generator so why would we use taxpayers’ money to subsidise one? The Government might like to take a look at tax relief, local infrastructure and greater investment in schools, hospitals, aged care – they seem to be a much better use of tax revenues.