Questions without notice – Resources Industry

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Mr THOMPSON: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister please update the House on the resilience of Australia’s resources exports and highlight how the industry, with the support of the Morrison government, is driving economic growth and supporting everyday Australians?

Mr PITT: I thank the member for Herbert for his question, another fighter for the north and strong supporter of the resources sector. What we know is the resources sector continuous to be the backbone of the Australian economy. It has been. It is. It will be into the future. It will continue to grow and drive jobs, all through the hard work of everyday Australians who are out there every single day in their high-vis, working on behalf of their companies and our country.

The resources sector will always be a key driver of our economy, particularly for regional Australia, and it’s great to see another increase in job numbers today, another increase in employment. In fact, in Queensland in November last year the resources sector actually supported 78,000 direct jobs. The sector grew 17.9 per cent over the year and 22.7 per cent for the quarter. I say to all of those Australians who might be looking for jobs: get yourself out to the regions. There are plenty of jobs. You can certainly get employment. As the Deputy Prime Minister has said, you might find love or you might not, but you can certainly get a job in a sector like the resources sector.

In 2019-20, Australia exported over $102 million of iron ore. That is enough iron ore to build 10,000 Harbour Bridges. It’s also driven dividends for mum and dad investors. We will continue to support the sector as it supports us. What does it mean for the states? It means $8 billion in royalties for Western Australia, $3.5 billion for Queensland and $1.5 billion for New South Wales. That’s money that can pay for schools, hospitals and roads. We will continue to support the sector.

I want to give a shout out to Kensey. Kensey is a 22-year-old apprentice electrician. He works in the Bowen Basin. This week I received a number of emails from hardworking men and women in the sector, including Kensey. So I gave Kensey a ring before question time. Apprentice electricians go anywhere. You never know where you might find one. As a former electrician, who thought I would have ended up here in the parliament? But, for those who don’t know, Kensey is working in an underground mine. It’s deep, hot, dark and difficult work, but Kensey ensures the big fans stay on and the equipment keeps running. He literally keeps the lights on. I say to Kensey and his colleagues that we are so thankful for the work you have done over the last 12 months. You have helped drive our economy. You have kept yourselves employed. You have kept yourselves safe. You have managed the pandemic. You have done everything that has been asked of you. Kensey is a great supporter of his industry. He is proud of what he does, as he should be. I say to all of his colleagues right across Queensland and across Australia, once again, thank you for your service in such an important sector as the resources sector. You can count on us to support you. You can count on us to continue to support the sector. We will not be out there arguing against resources. We want more, not less. We want more jobs, not fewer. We will drive it forwards.

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