Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry, representing the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister outline to the House how Australia's resource sector is supporting jobs in Queensland, and is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that would put at risk the jobs created by Australian resource exports?
It is a very nice tie, thank you. Last year, Australia recorded a $22.2 billion trade surplus—the largest trade surplus Australia has ever achieved in a single calendar year. It's a consequence of the free trade agreements that the Liberal-National government put in place. A key contributor to this record surplus was an increase in resource exports. We saw thermal coal provided and produced a record $23 billion worth of export income for Australia. The great news is that these record exports have been terrific for jobs. In Queensland, in the resources sector in our state, it's created over 10,000 jobs over the past year. That represents one new job every 40 minutes created from resource sector exports.
I know everyone on this side of the chamber supports those resource sector jobs. Unfortunately, not everyone on that side of the chamber does. In fact, the member for Leichhardt asked me about alternative approaches. We see some alternative approaches. We saw this morning the member for Corio had views about his alternative approach and that of the Australian Labor Party. He said the global market for thermal coal has collapsed and that that's wonderful and a good thing. The Australian Labor Party thinks it's a good thing that they can throw on the junk pile 55,000 jobs in the resources sector. Move over, member for Hunter, there's a brand new cheerleader in town for the demise of resource jobs, and it's the member for Corio.
We see how divided the Australian Labor Party is with some of their union backers. We saw the CFMEU demanding Labor candidates pledge support for the coalmining industry. Following this weak Leader of the Opposition, we saw all 13 of Labor's candidates and MPs in Queensland's most marginal seats have all refused to comment. All of them joined the coalition of silence. We know this Leader of the Opposition is weak on border protection and we know he's too divided, too wedged and too weak on resources jobs as well. He won't stand up for jobs in the resources sector, but the coalition certainly will. The member for Herbert is part of the coalition of silence. She won't stand up for workers in her electorate. But I tell you what: LNP candidate Phillip Thompson will. The Labor candidate for Capricornia, despite being a member of the CFMEU, won't stand up for workers in that electorate. But I tell you what: the member for Capricornia will stand up for those workers. The Labor candidate for Dawson won't stand up for workers in that electorate, but the member for Dawson will stand up for all of those employees. The fact is that Labor's approach will see fewer jobs.