Questions without notice – COVID-19: Economy

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Mr CHRISTENSEN: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister please outline to the House how the Morrison-McCormack government’s commitment to the resources sector, including coalmining, is contributing towards Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession, and is the minister aware of any alternative policies?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for Dawson for his question. There’s no stronger supporter of the resources sector than the member for Dawson, except for the member for Capricornia, the member for Flynn, the member for Herbert—pretty much all of them. They’re all pretty strong, but the member for Dawson has been so busy supporting the people in 55,000 full-time jobs in his electorate directly and indirectly supported by the resources sector, he hasn’t even had time for a haircut. He’s been out, busy, every single day.

I got an update on the weekend on Bravus, formerly known as Adani, which is out there once again providing jobs—2,200 people are employed on the site, $1.5 billion in contracts were issued and 88 per cent of those contracts are going to Queensland businesses, and they are driving that economy in Central Queensland right through the north. In fact, the additional $1½ billion in contracts creates 9,000 indirect jobs in the local community. What a great outcome—one that certainly wasn’t supported by those opposite, I know that.

While I was there, we launched Australia’s identified mineral resources 2020—a great report. It was launched in Mackay and demonstrated once again that there was $291 billion from the resources sector in 2019-20, and, in fact, investment in mineral exploration increased by 21 per cent compared to the previous year, reaching $2.6 billion. In fact, there’s been a gold rush—40 per cent of that exploration expenditure is due to the strong gold price. We’re looking for gold. There are all sorts of opportunities in the resources sector. For anyone that’s looking for a job, there is plenty of work out there in the regions, I know that.

I’m asked about alternatives. I note the member for McMahon actually found a mine in Central Queensland in recent weeks. I was surprised as you are, Mr Speaker!

The SPEAKER: You won’t bring me into it, thank you, or you’ll be surprised—you mightn’t get to finish your answer.

Mr PITT: I can just imagine it: up early, looking into the mirror, trying to get the mouth to form the word ‘coal’, practising: ‘Can I say “coal”? I can do it!’ and then reaching for the wardrobe, flicking through—suit, suit, suit, suit, skivvy, turtleneck, suit! I’m very pleased that those opposite finally managed to find a coalmine. However, to the shadow minister for energy, I’ve got to say: the member’s been misled. I’m not sure that he noticed, but he actually went not to a thermal coalmine—an energy coalmine—but a met coal mine. Here we are; finally, someone from those opposite in a relatively senior portfolio found their way to a coalmine, but the people in the resources sector will not be misled. They know that those opposite are not believers. They know they don’t support them. They don’t want them to have a job. This side will continue to support the resources sector and support it strongly. (Time expired)

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