Questions without notice – Resources Industry

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Mr THOMPSON (Herbert) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister update the House on the strength of the resource sector and the plan the Morrison government is implementing to streamline and cut random green tape, creating jobs in regional communities? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr PITT (HinklerMinister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for Herbert. He turned out for Queensland this morning in the State of Origin but he always turns out for his electorate and the people he represents. The member for Herbert understands what the resources sector does for our economy and for jobs. We expect that exports of resources and energy could break all Australian records and go through $300 billion by the end of this financial year. In the midst of a COVID outbreak, a worldwide pandemic, they are helping to hold together our economy and deliver jobs.

We want the resources sector to do more. That’s why we’re looking to cut red and green tape. That’s why we have legislation before the House, looking to streamline approval processes, looking for one-touch options. We’re working with state and territory governments to make that a reality. What does it mean for Australia? It means that projects can get approval. Why should they have to have two layers for what is effectively the same level of approval? Why should they have those costs and delays when we can have those jobs and that investment in Australia right now, earlier than before?

There are those that have a different view. I note an editorial from the West Australian. There is a screaming headline here. It says that someone’s WA credentials are on the line. I know you’re interested, Mr Speaker, in who that might be. He might be just over here. He’s pretty close to us—not far away. The headline literally says, ‘Albanese’s WA credentials are on the line’. Why is that? Because Premier McGowan supports our position. He supports what we are trying to do in Western Australia. Western Australia is the big resource state, where there are a lot of jobs and a lot of investment; it relies on these things. Premier Mark McGowan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are working together, but so far they’ve left federal Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese on the outer. Mr McGowan said on Monday that his government has been calling for the proposed changes for 18 months. So I say to those opposite: there is a time to step up, and that time is now. We need this investment. We need this investment in Australia.

I go on. The editorial says that he needs to ensure his party backs the changes, and I’d say to those opposite this is critical to what we are trying to do. We want more investment in Australia. We want processes that ensure that investment comes here and that drive jobs into our country. What we know is there are a lot of others who are onboard, even in Victoria. We put out what is known as the acreage release—offshore oil and gas, exploration, supported by the Victorian government. We have the shadow minister saying she supports the resources sector and supports gas exploration, yet I have a letter from the member for Corangamite—it was very straightforward—saying, ‘I encourage you to rethink the decision and not enable oil and gas exploration.’ So do you support the sector or not? Are you with those hardworking men and women or not? Clearly those opposite are not. (Time expired)

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