Interview with Michael Bailey, 4RO Rockhampton

MICHAEL BAILEY: I’ve got Barnaby Joyce, of course, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia on the line. Good morning to you, Barnaby. How are you?

BARNABY JOYCE: Good morning. Beautiful morning here. Don’t know what it’s like in Rocky. Absolute pearler here.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Mate, it’s a stunning morning, and it’s going to be a fine weekend. A few clouds drifting through, but that’s about all. We’ve got the big game, of course, Sunday night. The electrifying Eels versus the Knights at Brown Park. How cool is that going to be?

BARNABY JOYCE: That’s going to be great. I’m going for the Knights, because they’re my local team. But I think they’ll come second, to be honest. But anyway, we’ll go for them.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Your heart belongs to the team but your head says they are not going to make it. Oh, I like it.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah. Yeah, it’s – anyway, I wish them all the very best. They’re a bit further north than Parramatta, so I hope Rocky’s going for them as well.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Mate, Rookwood Weir, at long last. Hallelujah.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah.

MICHAEL BAILEY: I know that this is a subject that’s very close to Michelle Landry’s heart. She’s been beating the drum, so to speak, and beating the drum on your door as well.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, we’ve been fighting for this, Michelle and myself, for years now and it’s great to see it coming through. We got the money back years ago and Michelle and Matt Canavan and Kenny O’Dowd, of course, Kenny O’Dowd were in there fighting for it. And there was a big call on the amount of money we had. We did it because we believed that that was going to help the wealth and the prosperity of people in Rockhampton, bring a whole new section of the horticultural industry into town, shore up your water supply, grow that great city. Michelle, just like she got a lot of money for the rugby league quarter finals on the weekend, she was absolutely instrumental on that and so was Kenny O’Dowd. And it’s really important, we love going in to bat for Central Queensland.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Hang on a second, Barnaby. I’m just going to put you on hold, because I know I’ve got Michelle Landry online. Michelle, good morning to you. How are you?

MICHELLE LANDRY: I’m good, thank you, Michael.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Yeah, well, you just heard the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, you know, acknowledging the fact that you used to bang on his door and, of course, the trio finally got it over the line. Congratulations.

MICHELLE LANDRY: Yes, look, we’re very excited. Unfortunately, Ken, Matt and I are in lockdown, home quarantine, for another week. But out at Rookwood Weir they’re pouring the first concrete for the foundations. So this is a major milestone for Rookwood Weir and, as you know, we’ve fought long and hard for it. The Federal Government’s investing $183.6 million into the project, up to 200 workers on site. And they’ve even got some apprentices out there. So this is going to provide about 86,000 megalitres of water for Rookwood Weir and I’m very excited about the agricultural growth out there. As you know, I always talk about the agriculture sector growing and also Rocky Airport growing. And that will be the next thing I’ll be knocking on his door for – money to expand the airport.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Hey, that’s what it’s all about, mate. Thanks very much for your kind words there. And, of course, Barnaby, it is true, unless you have your local person banging on your door, because you have an influence being the Deputy Prime Minister, you get nowhere, don’t you?

BARNABY JOYCE: That’s the point. You know, you can write all the letters you like, but unless you’ve got someone in government, it goes to the Expenditure Review Committee where that money actually turns up from, who actually takes it to cabinet and fights for the policy position for the construction of Rookwood Weir, and you really just – you know, you’re a letter writer, you’re not a doer. And Michelle’s part of a Government that actually does things. She has direct connection to me. She can just walk in the door. I’ve now heard she is going to walk in the door about the airport, so I’m looking forward to that. And this is how you get things done.

And we’re really happy as a Nationals team, an LNP team, with Kenny, with Michelle, with Colin Boyce, who’s coming forward for us to be able to deliver for Rockhampton. On the big ways, Rookwood Weir, and the small ways, well, we’ll be watching the rugby league quarter final where Newcastle – go Newcastle, good luck – that’s how you get this money. On that one, Michelle said, “Look, I need $67,000. Have you got $67,000 for us?” And I went and had the conversation with the Treasurer, to be honest, at the door of the lift. He went off and talked to the minister and the money turned up.

MICHAEL BAILEY: And the money turned up. Mate, in today’s CQ Today, our local newspaper that comes out on a Thursday, Barnaby’s on the Inland Rail case. We’ve spoken about this before, but this is really important for Capricornia as a whole, isn’t it?

BARNABY JOYCE: It’s really important for Capricornia. It’s really important for the great industrial city of Gladstone. Now, you know, I just want to make sure that Gladstone understands that we’re going in to bat for Gladstone. If you live in Gladstone, we’re going in to bat for you. If you live at Tannum Sands, we’re going in to bat for you. If you’ve got a job in the port, we’re going in to bat for you. We’re making sure that we bring the wealth through to Gladstone so that your jobs are secure and so that your kids can grow up and live and have a secure job in that great industrial city. And, you know, I’m looking forward, once we get away from crazy lockdowns, to getting back up to Central Queensland with Michelle, with Kenny, with Colin Boyce and, you know, fighting for the things that Central Queensland needs. We’ve done Rookwood Weir, you’ll see the Yeppoon Bypass, you drive over that. You know, you go right down to the hospice in Agnes Street, you know, we delivered on that. You can go and have a look at the pools down…

MICHAEL BAILEY: Barnaby, I want to stick with the Inland Rail.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yes.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Look, this is a no-brainer because John Abbott, the Chairman of the Inter-Port Global Holdings, he says, “Hey, we can do this ourselves. This is private enterprise. Just give us the A-OK with the land and the Government doesn’t have to put their money in their pocket.” I mean, that’s a no-brainer, surely.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, well, I’m fully in support of it. And that’s why we’ve put money on the table to get the process forward. The first thing that Mr Abbott asked for was we need a business case. So we’ve got $10 million for the business case. I’ve announced that. We’re doing that. And then we present the business case to the private entities wanting to build it. We say, “Here it is. This is how it stacks up.” And then we work, hopefully with the state government that wants to actually build it as well – that’s really important that they get all the approvals through because state governments get the approvals through. The Federal Government in this instance is providing the money and the mechanism to construct it and we connect it up. And that means Gladstone’s connected to Parkes, it’s connected to Melbourne.

MICHAEL BAILEY: That’s right.

BARNABY JOYCE: It’s connected to the growing regions of New South Wales.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Barnaby, you know and I know that stopping it at the other side of Brisbane was a stupid idea, an absolutely stupid idea. And it’s good to see that you and your team have been listening to the locals. And let’s extend that Inland Rail all the way to Gladstone. You know, we’ve got our own port there. You know, everything is there when it comes to agricultural, when it comes to minerals that needs to be exported. And it’s available for business. I’m loving it. And hopefully we’ll see some shovels in the ground in maybe four or five years’ time and completed within our lifetime.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, well, I actually want it to go to Brisbane as well. But I think the bulk commodities, your grain, your coal, the logical place is to take them to a bulk commodities port. And when it’s built, I’ll get an incredible sense of satisfaction out of it because I saw it from the start. I remember negotiating with Malcolm Turnbull, and he wanted Badgerys Creek airport. So I said I wanted the Inland Rail on behalf of the Nationals, on behalf of Michelle and Kenny and now Colin. And we’re going to do it.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Okay, I love it. Barnaby Joyce, have a good weekend. And go the Knights. Come on, give them some support.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, they’re almost the Rockhampton Knights. Remember, they’re further north than Parramatta. That’s all you’ve got to know.

MICHAEL BAILEY: Mate, you have a good day. Thanks very much mate.

ENDS