Questions without notice – Mining industry

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Mr O’DOWD: My question is to the Minister for Resources and Water. Will the minister provide an update on the strength of our resources sector under the management of the Morrison-Joyce government and what this means to regional communities like mine? Is the minister aware of alternative and uncertain policy approaches that may put local jobs in the regional communities at risk?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for Flynn for his question. The member for Flynn does a lot of kays—tens of thousands of kilometres every single year. He goes to places like Tieri, Moura, Blackwater, Rolleston, Springsure and Emerald. All of those places know that it is the powerhouse of the Australian economy, the resources sector and agriculture, that provides them with jobs and economic security. In an uncertain world, that certainty is something which is valued by the Australian people, and we support it wholeheartedly.

For those individuals, we know that there is a pipeline of projects out there, some $500 billion worth of investment in this country at various stages. It will deliver over 80,000 jobs. In fact, out in the member for Flynn’s electorate we know there are a number of projects. There’s one at Comet Ridge, near Comet, would you believe, Mr Speaker? There are projects at Springsure Creek; at Walton, near Bluff; and at North Surat, in Taroom, which happens to be the home of Colin Boyce, the state member for Callide, another great supporter. Those jobs are incredibly important for the people of regional Australia.

In Queensland alone, there are 52,000 jobs and $85 billion worth of investment that are potentially at risk. They are potentially at risk because the uncertainty being provided by those opposite, in alliance with the Greens, is bad for this country’s national investment risk, for this country’s national economic strength and for this nation’s jobs, right into the future. We need to make sure that that gets nipped in the bud. The people of Australia need to know what the risk is.

We’ve seen the member for Melbourne out again, out on Sky News with Tom Connell this morning. We know that he was part of and a signatory to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Bob Brown’s Labor-Green alliance in 2010. How do we know that there is a risk in providing uncertainty? How do we know that this is likely to happen? The member for Melbourne said in that interview, ‘We’re coming back now to finish the job.’ I know what jobs they want to get rid of: they are the jobs of the people in the resources sector—$500 billion worth of investment and 80,000-plus jobs. Labor, in alliance with the Greens, would destroy certainty of investment in this country. That is not in our national interest.

At a time of significant insecurity and uncertainty right around the world, we need the money that gets put forward by the Australian resources sector. We know they’re on track to break all records: $379 billion. We know that they provide 300,000 direct jobs, particularly in regional Australia. And what do we see from those opposite? We know that city Labor, in combination with the Leader of the Opposition, are like a ping-pong ball in the surf. They’re up; they’re down; they’re left. They keep going left. It’s as if they’re caught in a rip-tide. We want to see certainty for the resources sector. It is deals like those between the Greens and the Labor Party that will destroy the resources sector in this country. We want more jobs, not fewer. We want a stronger economy. That’s in our national interest. (Time expired)

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