MPI – Energy

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Mr PITT: I’m thankful for the opportunity to respond to what has been absolute twaddle. We’ll give a couple of lessons to the member for McMahon. Out in the real world, there’s a thing called a material safety data sheet. He should go and look some of them up. If we’re going to have tens of thousands of acres of solar panels in this country, it’s a responsible government that will deal with them in an environmentally friendly way when they come to the end of their working lives. Those opposite may not know this, but solar panels actually deteriorate over time. Their output deteriorates to the point where eventually they’re not worth having and are removed. They get damaged—they get hit by hail—and they have to be disposed of appropriately. If those opposite are seriously saying that we shouldn’t have a plan to deal with these issues, well, they are lost—lost once again.

I’ll say this to the member for McMahon as well, who raised bushfires. From someone who lives in an area affected by bushfires, in regional Queensland, there are three things which come into play for bushfires: the fuel load, the ignition source and oxygen. If state governments continue to not deal with hazard reduction burns and if they continue to not decrease the levels of hazard in terms of the fuel load, then these results will continue. Mr Deputy Speaker, I know you’ve been out there as well, in your former life. You know that, if you’re out there standing in front of a fire which has 40 years of fuel load on the ground and there’s a 30 kilometre-an-hour wind up its backside, it will be a massive fire coming towards you. You would really want the state government to have dealt with this issue beforehand. These things can be dealt with, the risk can be reduced and we can have a better outcome.

I say to those opposite that the questions remain the same for their policies: What’s it going to cost? How are you going to do it? Who is paying and where do they reside? We know from the last election—it was very, very clear—that the former Leader of the Opposition had no plan and didn’t know what the cost was. And, when the Australian people put the pressure on him, they decided that he was the Bill they couldn’t afford, hence we are here in government and we’re delivering on our technology road map. We’re moving forward with our plans.

We’ve heard a lot from those opposite about critical minerals and a lot from those opposite about those opportunities into the future. It’s this side which is actually taking on those opportunities. It is this side of the House which established the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office. It is this side which is engaging internationally to see that those opportunities come to fruition. In fact, in Western Australia there’s been a deal done for lithium between a company and the US Department of Defense. I think this is another good outcome which we will continue to build on into the future.

What do we say to those opposite? I read the press, like many people in this building, and I think that Greg Brown from The Australian belled the cat. He had a great story, some weeks or months ago—

A government member interjecting

Mr PITT: He did indeed! It was about Labor’s environmental action network. And what was Labor’s plan from the LEAN? And I know we have a lot of lean members over here! The great plan was to get rid of gas appliances. They were going to eliminate gas appliances across the country. Can you imagine it? The Leader of the Opposition, he’s out with the handcart, he’s clogging over the tiles, he’s working his way down the road: ‘Bring out your kitchen appliances! Bring out your hot water systems! You can’t have them anymore, because they run on gas.’ What an absolute nonsense. Can you imagine it? The Leader of the Opposition, he’s in his hard hat, he’s got his hi-vis on, he’s charging through the kitchen with his hammer: ‘Where’s your stove? You can’t keep that. We’ve got to have that gone, because it’s all about the environment.’

I think this is a ridiculous proposition from those opposite. They want to cancel the Christmas barbecue. They want to take away gas opportunities. All of the people around Australia know it is a complete nonsense. It is a complete nonsense. As the minister said earlier, what we know of those opposite is that they’ve changed jockeys but that they’ve got the same horse—the same horse, heading in the same direction, with the same challenges.

We’ll continue to support to resources sector. We’ll continue to develop gas across this country. We’ll continue to ensure they have jobs. What do we see from those opposite? They’re terrified of coalmines. The Leader of the Opposition went to Queensland, couldn’t find his way into one of the biggest export industries in Queensland, couldn’t find a way to have a chat with those people who work underground and above ground, delivering those resources right around the world and ensuring that royalties continue to be paid to state governments—royalties that pay for roads, schools and hospitals.

I say to all of those listening, all of those individuals, those hardworking men and women in the resources sector: thank you for the work you’ve done over the last 12 months. This side of the parliament appreciates your work; this side of the parliament will continue to support you. Those opposite want you to be out of a job, and they have demonstrated that over and over again. We’ll continue to see it from those opposite. They simply don’t want people to have a job.