House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024


Hunter Electorate: Mining Industry

7:55 pm

Photo of Dan RepacholiDan Repacholi (Hunter, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

It gives me great joy and pride to be able to announce to the House that coalmining in the Hunter is not only alive; it's also thriving. The NSW Minerals Council has released the results of its latest member expenditure survey, and once again the survey has confirmed that mining is helping to provide good secure employment for the people of the Hunter and is the major reason our whole region is able to continue to grow.

The mining industry has helped to support a massive 15,300 jobs in the Hunter. This is an increase of over 1,700 jobs compared to the previous year and the highest number of jobs reported in the 12 years of the survey. The number of jobs isn't the only thing about the mining sector that is continuing to grow and break records. This is also the fourth year in a row that direct mining spending in the Hunter has been over $6 billion. In fact, this year's figures smashed the $6 billion mark, with $8.2 billion of direct mining spending in the Hunter in the last financial year. That's $8.2 billion pumped straight into our economy, straight into our local communities and straight into the Hunter as a whole.

All the money being put into our economy is good, but the part that excites me the most about this report is that, out of the $8.2 billion, $1.9 billion went towards wages and salaries. That's almost $2 billion going straight to hardworking miners to help them put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of their family. This is money going directly to people in our community and being spent directly in our community. Everyone is a winner.

I expect these figures to be even bigger and better next year with the introduction of our same job, same pay legislation. Before this legislation, miners were being ripped off, getting less than the person next to them for doing the same job. With this legislation, we'll see those in this industry get the fair pay that they deserve. This means only one thing: more money for those who deserve it, which will help our region to grow even more.

On top of more money going to our miners, $6.3 billion went towards goods and services purchased from over 2,700 mining supplier businesses across the Hunter region. The flow-on effect from mining in the Hunter can't be overstated. Mining in the Hunter in the last financial year contributed 25 per cent of the GRP of the Hunter region's economy during this period. Make no mistake: the Hunter is more than just mining. But these figures show that it is one of the pillars that hold up the mighty Hunter region.

I was a miner. Many people in my electorate are miners and even more are connected to the industry in some way. Every single person connected to the mining industry has the right to feel proud to be part of coalmining in the Hunter. It has built our region, and, because of mining, the Hunter is able to continue to grow. We owe a lot to mining. It forms an integral part of who we are in the Hunter. But, unfortunately, in this place you hear some oppose coalmining. This opposition is ill-informed and ignores the important facts. Those who want to see the rushed closure of our coalmines wouldn't blink an eye at the 15,000 jobs that would be lost in my electorate alone. They wouldn't care about the $8 billion of lost expenditure. They have no concept of reality—none at all. They just don't get what it is to live in an area like the Hunter, which was built on, and still relies on, the mining industry.

But despite what some may hear, especially around election time, I really do believe that I'm a member of a party who does get it. The Labor Party understands how important mining is. It will always stand up for mining and, more importantly, the miners that this industry relies on. This will not change. Whilst people want to buy our coal, we will always supply our coal to them. This will not change, especially while I'm representing the people of the Hunter.

House adjourned at 20:00


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