I am sure the people of Bowen were happy to know that last night a plane load of Senators inquiring into the Great Barrier Reef flew over their town without stopping in. The town all waved as they were ignored once again.
The focal point of the inquiry is Abbot Point, and the town closest to Abbot Point, is Bowen. You would think that a Senate inquiry would therefore want to hear what the people of Bowen say to a project in their local area, that affects their local environment and their local jobs.
But this inquiry was established by the Greens for the Greens. It is a "greenwash" of an inquiry. They are holding two hearings in North Queensland and their program does not hear from one local business outside of the seafood or tourism industries. That's right, the inquiry is not hearing from local business chambers of commerce, economic development organisations or even local governments in North Queensland.
Senator Waters, the Greens Senator chairing the inquiry, must return to Bowen to hear what local people want. As it stands, Nicole Kidman has probably spent more time in Bowen than Senator Waters.
I spent yesterday in Bowen talking to fishermen, tomato growers and local businesses. The overwhelming view was that the local economy needs development and needs jobs. Today I am heading out to Abbot Point to see the project for myself.
23 July 2014