Questions without notice – Resources Industry

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Mr THOMPSON (Herbert) (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister outline to the House how the resource sector is contributing to Australia’s economy and how the Morrison government’s support is delivering jobs and prosperity for all Australians?

Mr PITT (HinklerMinister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia) (14:39): I thank the honourable member for his question. The member for Herbert generally has a smile on his dial. There are a number of reasons for that, but there are two in particular. One is the outstanding performance of the resources sector and the jobs that it drives up there in Townsville and North Queensland, and the second one is the success of Townsville in scoring the state of origin game next week.

On the resources piece, it’s Minerals Week this week. Even the superstars are turning out for Minerals Week. We had Tina Arena last night at the dinner, a fabulous performance by a wonderful Australian. The Minerals Council has released a report about the economic contribution of the resources and the METS sector to our economy—$242 billion; 1,131,450 full-time direct and indirect jobs, which is almost 11 per cent of the jobs in this country. That is an incredible contribution.

But there’s more to do. There are more opportunities and more growth. I’m very pleased to report to the House that the price of thermal coal is up over US$123. That is the highest price since 2011. It is up 150 per cent in nine months. Met coal, steel-making coal, is also up. It is up to $161 per tonne. Iron ore is at record prices this year. It is an incredible contribution to our economy. This is how we pay for the essential services—schools, hospitals and roads—that Australians rely on, whether it’s through royalties, taxes or the other things that all those individuals out there who are working hard are doing.

Mr Speaker, I’m not asked about alternatives; I’m asked about jobs. I’m asked about jobs for individuals. I’ve met a number of those hardworking men and women in the resources sector over the last year. Atania Newman, an electrical apprentice over there in the west, is working hard at Mount Whaleback. Conor at Moranbah is a fourth-generation miner. He is a third-year diesel fitter employed at Caval Ridge. He is the fourth generation of his family to work in the mining sector. That is a phenomenal contribution not only to the sector but to those regions and to driving our economy. Congratulations to Conor. We want more Australians to have that opportunity. We want more generations of Australians to be employed in mining. We want more of them to be trained in the mining and resources sector. I spoke about that this morning at the Minerals Week breakfast and about what that industry can do for Australian individuals, for Australia’s youth and for Australia’s young adults in giving them the training and skills they need into the future.

Fiona Hick is the plant manager for North West Shelf LNG. She is an incredible individual. She works incredibly hard, is well skilled and is very impressive, I have to say. It’s people like these three who are helping to drive our economy, providing opportunities for our people and our country. We intend to support them, and we’ll continue to support them into the future so there are hundreds of thousands more Australians employed.

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