Morning Bulletin: The regions need help & Rennick has a plan
30 August 2019.
FOLLOWING his surprise at being elected to the Senate, the LNP’s Gerard Rennick has wasted no time criss-crossing rural and regional Queensland on a listening tour over the past fortnight.
Keen to repay the faith of voters, the freshly-minted Queensland Senator’s exhaustive journey has provided him with plenty of food for thought ahead of his maiden speech on September 10.
The tour is serving two purposes – to listen to the concerns of regional Queensland and to introduce himself to the regions as a Senator for Queensland, meeting councillors and “a few industry groups” to establish relationships.
“Being a boy from the country, it’s very important that people know that I’m passionate about the regions,” he said.
Senator Rennick recognises the limitations of his rookie status in Parliament but he maintains hope he can transform his ideas to help regional Queensland into reality.
He isn’t a fan of privatising infrastructure, preferring the government to own large-scale nation-building infrastructure. He said base-load power stations, dams, coal freight trains and ports generated income which could be spent on no income generating infrastructure like schools and hospitals.
Provided it was financially viable, he supports building a coal-fired power station in North Queensland, tapping into pumped hydro energy storage, and utilising Australian dug uranium in an Australian nuclear power station.
“Obviously we’re going to have to bring the public with us, but I think we’ve got to look at it objectively,” he said.
“Sure there’s a risk, but there’s a risk to just about everything. If people are concerned about carbon emissions, and I don’t believe they are as bad as we make them out to be, then that’s a viable alternative.”
He said when you looked into the energy put into producing renewables, the waste produced coupled with the rarity of lithium for batteries, the nuclear option had merit.
He said farmers were concerned about legislation requiring a permit if they wished to change their crop and to report exactly how much fertiliser they were applying to their land.
This green tape, along with red tape, should be slashed, according to the Senator, saving farmers and businesses time and money.
“Probably the biggest thing I want do for regions is really push an infrastructure bank nationally, (the Federal Government) can lend infrastructure bonds through the State Government (which) can build infrastructure out here in the regions,” he said.
“The importance of infrastructure in regions is that it generates income for governments.”
Another issue frequently raised was problems with wireless connectivity in the bush – something he pledged to look into.
By Leighton Smith