Questions without notice – Mining Industry

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Mr VAN MANEN: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister please update the House on the Morrison-McCormack government’s commitment to our resources sector, which is of critical importance as we come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for that question. The member for Forde is another strong supporter of the resources sector because, quite simply, it drives jobs in the member’s electorate. The member tells me that the Cat distribution centre is in the member’s electorate—and they are cats that purr, though not the type you’re thinking of, of course. ‘Cat’ is short for Caterpillar, that very well-known company that provides heavy-engineering equipment right across the resources sector. Once again, the resources sector continues to drive jobs across the economy, whether they are direct or indirect.

Mining is in Queensland’s DNA. It is a big driver of jobs in that region. I want to thank, again, those working in the sector, because they are keeping the lights on in this country, they are driving our economy, they are providing more opportunities and they are providing more jobs, and we are supporting them. There’s an extra $153 million in the budget this year to explore and develop Australia’s resources even further. We continue to drive new gas development. The Beetaloo Basin, for example—one of our first strategic gas basin plans—was reported in the media today as ‘the hottest play on the planet’ right now in terms of gas exploration. That is jobs into the Northern Territory, that is jobs for Australians and that is potential to drive down the gas price across the board over a longer period of time. We need to make sure we get the balance right there. But, once again, it provides jobs for individuals in Queensland.

I was recently in Rockhampton at a resources town hall run by the Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, Michelle Landry, where I met Jack. Jack is a young man who is very proud of the job that he had. He told me it is his dream job. He started his career as a cleaner, and he is now a drone operator at the Adani mine in Central Queensland. That job exists, because, on this side of the House, we support the resources sector. We support mines like the Adani mine. We support the jobs that they drive. People like Jack represent the heart and soul of the industry. He’s proud of his industry, he’s proud of his job and he’s done the right thing. He’s out there working hard for his country, himself and his family.

We will continue to see things like those opposite and those in Queensland showing up with borrowed hard hats and high-vis shirts. They’re not theirs; they’ve been loaned to them. I’m absolutely sure of it. We know that, in Queensland, there are challenges in terms of approaches to this type of policy. Media today indicated that Deputy Premier Steven Miles in Queensland has been caught out again ‘after a damning social media post surfaced of him criticising Queensland’s push for new coal projects’.

The SPEAKER: Minister, resume your seat. The question did ask about alternative policies, but, under the Practice, that refers to federal policies. We’ve had a number of questions from my left. We’ve had some answers. Let me sum it up: I’ll be glad when the Queensland election is over. I call the minister and ask him to be relevant to the question.

Mr PITT: We know that those opposite are absolutely against the sector. We saw them yesterday move a motion to stop us delivering on our commitments to the sector—to stop us from committing the money that we’ve put forward and we committed to in the election. Shame on them.