House debates

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Matters of Public Importance

Australian Industry

4:10 pm

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the matter of public importance. I was fortunate to be in the chamber at 12 o’clock when it was distributed by the clerks. I had a look at it: ‘The failure of the government to keep its commitments to Australian industry.’ I cogitated and I thought: ‘I wonder what industries they’ll be looking at. Will it be the education industry? Look at what’s been happening there in the last three years or so. Or perhaps it will be the superannuation industry,’ which the minister touched on in his speech—the incredible achievements that have taken place over the last three years and what we are about to see take off. We have had some great comments from the superannuation industry about our increases in the SGC. I thought it might even be the agricultural industry, since we seem to have a significant influx of young Nationals into the chamber, up in that corner. I thought maybe they were driving the agenda and it would be about the agricultural industry. Then I thought of building or broadband. Obviously the member for Wentworth is pretty interested in broadband and has been making some comments, so I thought, ‘I wonder if that’s what they’ll focus on.’ But no. I listened to the Leader of the Opposition and obviously, even though his speech was a little bit erratic, he seemed to be focusing on mining. In fact, he made this statement, and I think I am quoting it accurately: ‘The mining industry is under deadly threat.’ I have a bit of background in the mining sector. I have worked for the Queensland Resources Council as a mining adviser. I have worked for the state government in mining. I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll explore that a bit.’

I cast my mind back to a release that came out on Monday about a mining project up in Cape York, up in the wild rivers area. I thought maybe that was where Mr Abbott was getting his information from about the mining industry being under deadly threat. Perhaps it was because of something that was put out on Monday. You might remember that Mr Abbott is passionate about overturning the Queensland wild rivers legislation, which locks up the few pristine wild rivers left in Australia—well, left in Queensland. I cannot speak for the other states. But he is suggesting that it is going to overturn industry opportunities in those areas, which is actually complete rubbish. Mining can take place in wild river areas. Tourism and other things can take place in wild river areas. There just needs to be consideration of those wild river values. But I thought that maybe it was because he is passionate about wild rivers and intends to go up to North Queensland and actually talk to the traditional owners around the wild rivers. Instead of just listening to Noel Pearson and saying, ‘This is our policy,’ he said, ‘No, I will go and talk to the traditional owners who walked up and down these corridors last week and told people they loved the wild rivers legislation.’ These people said: ‘We’re the traditional owners. We can speak with authority. We’re not Noel Pearson.’ I thought, ‘Maybe that’s what guided Mr Abbott’s comments that the mining industry is under deadly threat.’


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