MPI – Climate change

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Mr PITT (HinklerMinister for Resources and Water) (16:24): I always enjoy coming to a debate led by the member for Shortland. The member for Shortland is always focused and he’s passionate and he’s disassociated from reality—and he’s also wrong. These are the challenges for the member for Shortland.

The facts are these. We have reduced emissions by 20 per cent. That is what we have done. If you compare that with other countries, you see that that is significant and substantial compared to the noisemakers. If you compare it to New Zealand, for example, which has excluded agriculture from its numbers, we are doing better than New Zealand. We’re doing better than the US, South Korea, Japan, Canada—the numbers keep racking up.

We took a proposal to the Australian people at the last election. We made commitments to 2030, and we are delivering on those commitments. The phrase ‘technology, not taxes’ is not just a line. I met with Chevron in recent days. Their Gorgon CCS unit out in the north-west is just past five million tonnes. That sounds pretty successful to me. That is what success looks like—companies out there investing their hard earned and getting a result.

The MPI talks about inaction on job creation. I’m not sure where those opposite have been, but in my portfolio the results have been magnificent, absolutely magnificent. They have gone from roughly 240,000 Australians directly employed to 279,000 directly employed, at the last set of numbers. Unemployment is under five per cent. This is what success looks like. This is a sector which is doing its part, which is carrying the Australian economy, and it has made some very significant commitments and sacrifices to make that happen during the COVID pandemic. Like any number of Australians, those in the resources sector have been away from their families for many weeks, for many months—for long periods of time—because it was necessary. Those results have resulted in a record set of Australian exports, at $310 billion for the last financial year, and forecasts of $344 billion for the next financial year because of projects like Narrabri, over 900 jobs expected; the Barossa announcement up in the Darwin LNG life extension, over 600 jobs; Scarborough, WA, 3,200 jobs; and the Beetaloo basin, where we expect more than 6,000 jobs to be created over the next 20 years as we bring that gas basin online. We have a strategic plan worth over $220 million to make sure that that happens.

However, there are some challenges. One of those is that Environment Centre NT has applied to the Federal Court, seeking a review of my decision to prescribe the Beetaloo Basin Cooperative Drilling Program and award grants under the program. Environment Centre NT is supported by the Environmental Defenders Office. Given this is a matter before the courts, I won’t be making comments on that specifically. However, in general terms, this is the format that those people use. When I say ‘those people’, I mean those who are out there using environmental or green lawfare to stop legitimate projects in this country that help deliver jobs and help deliver stronger economies, particularly in areas like the Northern Territory.

If we look at what those opposite are putting forward, former senator Nigel Scullion, who left the Senate at the last election, very famously said in the Nationals party room before the election: ‘Get off the twitterer.’ ‘Get off the twitterer,’ was Mr Scullion’s comment, ‘Get out to the pubs, get out to the coffee shops, get out to small business and talk to real people.’ I say to the former senator: unfortunately, it’s on the ‘twitterer’ where you find Labor’s policies. Labor’s election commitments at the last election included an announcement around a $14 million funding package for—guess who—the Environmental Defenders Office. Those opposite will sit there and sometimes say they support the resources sector and other times say something different, whether they’re in Melbourne or Moranbah. It is Moranbah, not Mooranbah, as was outlined by the Leader of the Opposition a couple of days ago. So $14 million was the commitment from those opposite to support individuals who want to stop the government’s policies to deliver jobs. That is what they put forward. That is the proposition from those opposite supporting the Environmental Defenders Office. What’s next? They’ll be out supporting those individuals who were vandalising Australia’s Parliament House this morning. This is their policy and this is what’s been put forward by those opposite.

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