Thursday, 13 February 2020
Questions without Notice
Opposition members interjecting—
My question is for the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister outline to the House the importance of the Morrison-McCormack government's consistent beliefs and policy approach when it comes to supporting our resource sector? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?
I thank the honourable member for Mallee. What a fantastic job the member for Mallee is doing in Victoria—a true local member representing her people. Under the coalition's stable economic management, the resources sector is booming. It is booming, and generating record exports, royalties and taxes paid by mining companies. Mr Speaker, I'm sure you know this, but the resources sector contributed eight per cent of Australia's GDP. I know those opposite like it when I talk about the numbers; I know they're keen on the numbers. Eight per cent is $279 billion in 2018-19. What a significant contribution to our economy.
The sector employed 250,000 Australians at the end of 2018-19. That is two per cent of the workforce, or one in 50. It has been one of the fastest-growing sections of our economy. Ninety four thousand people were employed 15 years ago; that has reached 250,000. It is this section of the economy which is delivering jobs. It is this section of the economy which is lifting our GDP. It is this section of the economy which has got growth and economic advantages. It is this section of the economy in regional Australia which is helping keep our people employed, including those in the member for Mallee's electorate. I know that my colleagues, like the member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, stand for coal. Resources in his sector employ people, and he supports them. The member for Dawson, George, stands for coal. We all know that George stands for coal and the people who are employed in that region. It's not just coal exports: there's $77 billion in iron ore and LNG exports worth $50 billion.
I'm asked about alternative approaches. We know that those opposite are not quite that supportive. We know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said he'd be happy if there were no coal exports, if it collapsed. On this side of the House, we support the industry. I've said to the shadow minister, the member for Hunter, that I'm happy to work with him and the other shadow ministers in the interests of the nation. I'm happy to exchange phone calls and exchange texts and exchange emails. I'm even happy to meet them in a social setting! I'm advised that the member for Hunter has got a regular gig, a regular table—I'm not sure where that restaurant is. I might actually ask for help. Can I ask for help, Prime Minister?
It's the Otis restaurant. I know that there are 20 seats and 20 people there. I know there's not a seat for the Leader of the Opposition, but, if you can squeeze me in, I'm happy to come and talk to you.