House debates

Monday, 24 February 2020

Questions without Notice


3:18 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. How is the Morrison government delivering on its balanced plan to support our resources industry and the local jobs it creates, especially with exports? How does this compare against the risk of alternative approaches?

Photo of Keith PittKeith Pitt (Hinkler, National Party, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for his question. The honourable member's constituents know it is our balanced plan for the resources sector which delivered not only jobs for the member for Dawson but support for the coal sector. The member for Dawson understands it is our balanced plan that is delivering jobs right across Australia.

The resources sector accounted for eight per cent of Australia's GDP, 59 per cent of Australian export earnings in 2018-19 with nearly 245,000 Australians at the end of 2018-19 employed—that is roughly two per cent, one in 50, of every individual that you run across who is working is employed in the resources sector.

What does that mean for our country? It means that the coal industry alone contributes more than $6 billion—$6 billion!—every year in royalties, and accounts for over 54,000 direct jobs, with the majority in regional areas. We continue to open up new resource basins around Australia, like the Galilee and the Beetaloo. We continue to support these high-wage jobs right around the country.

But I was asked about alternatives. To my surprise, in The Australian on the weekend, I noted the intrepid reporter Greg Brown had a report, 'Labor’s senior frontbenchers eyed putting cap on coal exports'. I know those opposite are keen on a cap-and-trade system, but I didn't know they were keen on a cap-or-trade system! Because a cap on trade is a cap on jobs, a cap on trade is a cap on exports and a cap on trade is a cap on opportunity; a cap on trade is a cap on opportunities for our youth to be employed right around the country.

On this side, we know that Australia is a trading nation. For Australia, trade means jobs and more trade means more jobs, and it's our balanced plan that is continuing to deliver those jobs right across this country. The member for Dawson and his constituents absolutely know it. That's why, during the election, he had people in CFMEU T-shirts signing up in his shopping centres and signing his petitions, because they support high-paid jobs. We support those jobs and we are supportive of those opportunities. Those opposite want every worker in this country lined up, cap in hand, to the Leader of the Opposition, saying, 'Please sir, can I keep my job?'