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28 June, 2021

Barnaby is back

Barnaby is back. Australia’s greatest retail politician is once again leader of the National Party and the Deputy Prime Minister. By George Christensen

Barnaby replaces immediate past leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack, who has supported our region with significant delivery on projects such as the Mackay Port Access Road, the Mackay Aquatic and Rec- reation Centre, the rebuild of the Proserpine Entertainment Centre and the Great Barrier Reef cricket Arena to name a few.

Barnaby is the real deal. What you see is what you get, warts and all.

It was shocking that his marriage breakdown was used by the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to oust him from the deputy prime ministership, and so his reelec-tion to the position rights an historic wrong.

But the return of Barnaby Joyce isn’t about Barnaby; it’s about the regions and ensuring that the Nationals, who are the champions for the regions, have the strongest voice possible within government.

Barnaby Joyce has been a huge supporter of our region and its key industries, including sugar and coal.

Barnaby listened to the concerns of growers and helped me with the push to establish a sugar marketing code of conduct to protect them from the actions of foreign millers.

Barnaby has been an ardent opponent of crazy green-inspired policy ideas that would destroy coal jobs or the construction of dams.

Barnaby has already informed me that there is no deal with the Nationals to meet a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

I oppose any such policy because net zero emissions will mean net zero jobs for our region.

It will destroy local jobs, hurt our farm- ers, hinder the growth of manufacturing and other industries, derail the construction of coal-fired power stations, lead to higher electricity prices or a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme.

Further to that, a path to net zero is not possible unless we cross our finders and hope for fusion power or the life to become a reality.

As we look to the future, we want to en- sure that farmers get a fair deal, that coal mining isn’t demonised and that coal miners keep their jobs.

We want to ensure that there is equity in the provision of services and infrastructure for regions like Mackay and the Whitsundays.

To get that, we need a loud voice, dogged determination and the ability to put the fear of God into the opponents of investing in regional Australia.

Barnaby being back may make politics interesting, but it will ensure the regions are front and centre in the serious fights that lie ahead.

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