Questions without notice – Exports

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Mr O’DOWD: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister please update the House on how Australia’s high-quality exports continue to support Australian jobs and our economic comeback following the coronavirus pandemic?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for their question and I am sure the honourable member would join me in saying how wonderful the images of family reunions right around the country have been in recent days. Many of them are the hardworking men and women of the resources sector, who have been out there doing what was necessary in recent months to maintain not only their jobs but their employing businesses, their sector, Australia’s reputation and, of course, Australia’s economy. I put my thanks to them on the table once again. Our economic recovery has been in no small part thanks to the decisions and the work of those Australians right around the nation.

The member knows that the Port of Gladstone, which I have visited a number of times, is an incredibly important part of the sector. In fact, over 1,900 vessels visit the port every year, and 70 per cent of those vessels are seeking our coal; some 20 per cent are seeking our gas. They are looking to ship them to markets all around the world, helping to build our economy and jobs for Australians in this country. The member knows as well that the Australian resources sector deserves a gold star in terms of the economy and what they have done. To quote the Attorney-General yesterday, their performance in recent months has been ‘nothing short of remarkable’. It has been remarkable, resilient, outstanding and fantastic, and they deserve every piece of recognition that they are getting from us and others.

We will continue to support the resources sector through the $225 million Exploring for the Future program, $53 million for gas-fired recovery and $30 million for the Central Queensland University School of Mining and Manufacturing, because we understand how important the sector is to Australia, its economy and its ability to drive more jobs, more GDP and more opportunities for Australians, particularly in areas like Flynn in Central Queensland—home to coal, home to exports, home to jobs, home to the fighter for Flynn.

There are great opportunities right across our country in the resources sector, and we will continue to support them as they support us. No matter whether it’s iron ore, coal, gold—pick your poison! All of those commodities are doing great guns; they’re doing an incredibly good job. Our coal is some of the highest-quality coal in the world. There’s $55 billion in the sector and 48,000 jobs. I was in the Hunter recently to see how good a job they’re doing, and roughly 96 per cent of what comes out of the Port of Newcastle is coal exported to the world and providing opportunities. And it’s not just about exports. If we look at the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Project in Victoria, what are they using as feedstock to produce hydrogen? Brown coal. It’s cheap, affordable and in Victoria, and they’re using it. There’s an opportunity here into the future, and we will continue to drive those opportunities.

When we look at the Australian economy, when we look at the reports today from the Treasurer and others, when we look at what has been happening in recent months, the Australian economy’s comeback is equivalent to that of a great Queensland Origin team—

The SPEAKER: The minister’s time has concluded, mercifully!

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