Questions without notice – Climate change

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Mr STEPHEN JONES: My question is for the Minister for Resources and Water. What does the government’s modelling show is the economic impact of a commitment to net zero by 2050 for the resources sector?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for the question, and can I say to the honourable member, I’ve seen lots of modelling. That’s what my department does. As the minister for resources, that’s what you would expect . I’ve seen modelling from the International Energy Agency that says that demand for Australia’s coal will continue to go up until 2030. They expect that it will be off-peak by about 20 per cent in 2050. I’ve seen modelling that says that our gas exports also continue to grow. I’ve seen presentations where they continue to talk about critical minerals.

The SPEAKER: The member for Whitlam on a point of order?

Mr Stephen Jones: Yes. I hate to interrupt that long run-off, but it is on relevance. I didn’t ask about international modelling. I asked about government modelling.

The SPEAKER: Yes, I understand that, but I’m not in a position to reach a conclusion when the minister says his department shows him lots of modelling. It’s a government department. I’m going to listen to the minister.

Mr PITT: Thank you, Mr Speaker—25 seconds in! Now, my department has also shown me modelling about how we’ve got a shortfall of workers in the resources sector right now, because it’s going so well. The policies of this government continue to ensure that the sector gets stronger. The policies of this government continue to ensure that there are opportunities into the future. The policies of this government ensure that right through the pandemic Australia maintained its reputation, maintained its delivery in terms of logistics and supply chains, maintained contracts into those critical locations like Japan, South Korea and right across South-East Asia.

So we continue to strongly support the sector. There is a range of modelling all over the place about all sorts of things but, in terms of my department and modelling that I have been provided by my department, it is about strengthening the sector; it’s about growing opportunities. That is why we’re out there committing funds to ensure that the critical minerals sector continues to grow. We know there are growth opportunities around the world for what results from critical minerals. We have an incredible resource in this area in this country, right across the spectrum, whether it’s rare earths, lithium or a range of others.

I had a discussion in recent weeks in Queensland with people who are looking to get out there and look at what could potentially be taken from previous coalmines in terms of overburden and extract further critical minerals from what previously were coalmines but are no longer in use. We are looking at every opportunity. We are looking to ensure that we continue to deliver for our country, to act in our national interest, to strengthen our economy, and the modelling I’ve seen says we will continue to do just that.

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