Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (11:38): It was very interesting to hear the member for Herbert waxing lyrical there, but not once during her contribution did she say, 'I support the mine and I support the workers in my electorate.' Not once did she say that. I see the member for Herbert leaves the chamber—no wonder. We come to this chamber to represent, stand up and fight for the people of our electorates. There we saw an example of a member betraying her own electorate. One would think, out of anyone in this parliament, it would be the member for Herbert that would stand up and say, 'I support the coal in the Galilee Basin', yet we didn't hear a peep from the member for Herbert.
We heard my good friend the member for Blaxland talk about how he's going to spend all this money. I'm sure what the people of North Queensland want is what every other Australian wants. They don't want government handouts; they want economic opportunity, and that's what that coal basin provides. It provides those people with economic opportunity to create real wealth, to pay royalties to the Queensland state government, and to pay payroll tax and tax on company profits to the federal government to pay for all those things that we need. Yet we have the Labor Party coming in, turning their back on the economic opportunities that this offers to their constituents.
We hear so much from the Labor Party members about how there's no demand for this coal. Let's just look at a few figures. Currently around the world there are 467 coal plants under construction in 35 nations. There are a further 903 in 50 nations—
Mr Conroy: Wrong.
Mr CRAIG KELLY: I hear the member there saying that is wrong. That is coal plants. It is true that for some of those numbers it might be a generator in one coal production plant. We know that in China, for example, the 220 under construction equate to about 20,000 gigawatts of electricity. We're talking about the equivalent of 100 Liddells under construction in China today. We've just seen information released for the Middle East. They have 44 gigawatts of electricity capacity under construction. That's twice Australia's existing capacity. They are building coal plants even in places like Dubai. There is the recently announced Hassan coal plant, a $2.3 billion investment in Dubai, because they know that they can have coal. When we look at the Resources and Energy Quarterly released only a few days ago, what do they say about thermal coal? 'Prices have pushed higher, as strong demand dominates the market.' Yet we have Labor Party members coming in here and telling us that thermal coal is in rapid decline. Let me read that again: 'Prices have pushed higher, as strong demand dominates the market.' That's the report on thermal coal. Exports from Australia are set to increase under these predictions. If we look further, to predictions by the US Energy Information Administration out to 2050, they predict that to keep up with the expected demand for coal we will need to increase our exports of coal between 30 and 40 per cent. The demand is there.
The question for the Labor Party is: do they support regional Queensland? Do they support jobs in that area, or are they prepared to sell them out for any inner city Green votes? Unfortunately, we've seen the answer from the performance of the member for Herbert and others in this chamber today. Green preferences are more important to them than standing up for workers' jobs in Northern Queensland. This is appalling. What an appalling performance we have seen here today!
We in the coalition know that that black coal seam that runs down our eastern seaboard is one thing that gives our nation a competitive advantage. If a project has all the environmental approvals in place, it should be supported by both houses of this parliament, especially when it will create jobs and real wealth in this nation. The failure of the Labor Party to support this is an absolute disgrace. It's an abandonment of the constituents of Northern Queensland.