Questions without notice – Mining Industry

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Ms HAMMOND: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister please outline to the House how the Morrison government is continuing to back our regional communities through its national leadership in the resources sector and how this will support the jobs of resource workers across the country? And is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr PITT: Thank you for the call, Mr Speaker. I thank the honourable member for the question.

The SPEAKER: You don’t have to thank me. I don’t have a choice in the matter; you have been asked a question.

Mr PITT: I was being polite, as always.

The SPEAKER: I know.

Mr PITT: The honourable member comes from Western Australia, one of those great resource states continuing to drive our economy. In fact, iron ore is the first Australian export, with $100 billion in exports last financial year. That is a big driver of jobs, a big driver of the economy, a big driver of Western Australia. This is just a fantastic opportunity to get up and support the resources sector, because I’m asked about national leadership and what’s needed. What’s needed is that we should be loud and proud in our support of the resources sector, loud and proud in support of those workers who are out there every single day delivering what is required, delivering what is needed and making tough decisions. Many have been away from their families for many months. They have been away for a long time. They are using Zoom, they are Facetiming and doing all those things to keep in contact with their families, and we should continue to support them because of the important role they have in delivering for our economy and for jobs in this country.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton.

Mr PITT: That’s a fantastic interjection from the member for Moreton—

The SPEAKER: No, it’s not.

Mr PITT: There are 247,000 Australians directly employed, a million Australians directly or indirectly employed, who all need our support. I’m asked about alternative approaches. We saw an alternative approach yesterday. We saw an alternative approach which has resulted in the member for Hunter, aka General Custer, as I described him in this place some weeks ago—

The SPEAKER: No, the minister will withdraw. You have to refer to members by their correct titles.

Mr PITT: I withdraw. The alternative approach has been to replace the member for Hunter with the member for Chifley. I welcome the member for Chifley to the shadow portfolio, but I thought I should do some research and see what it is that made the member for Chifley tick with regards to the resources sector. Now, what did we find? What is it that we think is one of the greatest achievements of the member for Chifley? I’m assuming he considers it a greatest achievement; he said he was very proud to be part of it. He was very proud to be part of a government that introduced a carbon tax, something that would destroy regional Australia and all the jobs in the resources sector and electricity generation. In 2018 the member said, ‘it doesn’t make economic sense any more to have coal-fired power’. I would say to the member: there are an awful lot of people out there employed in the coal-fired sector. They are delivering cheap, affordable, reliable energy into regional Australia. They are driving heavy industry. They are ensuring we keep an aluminium sector and a manufacturing sector. And they’re out working hard, and we should be out there supporting them. So I say to the member for Chifley: be loud and proud about the resources sector. Hopefully you won’t be overrun by the left flank like the member for Hunter—overrun by your own individuals in your own party. And I thank the member for Hunter for the association that we’ve had over recent months in his role as the shadow minister.