Monday, 15 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Can the minister inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government is supporting investment in the Australian resources sector and resources projects, including coalmining, which supports jobs in regional Australia? Can the minister advise of any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Dawson for an excellent question. The member comes from one of the outstanding resources sectors in Central Queensland. Around Dawson, there are an enormous number of jobs in the resources sector, and the member for Dawson stands up for jobs. He stands up for the coal sector, he stands up for critical minerals, he stands up for gas and he wants the people he represents to actually have a job into the future. In Queensland, there are some 78,000 individuals directly employed in the resources sector. There has been 17.9 per cent growth over the year, and in Queensland coal jobs are up 22.8 per cent, to 62,000—a 22.8 per cent increase.
I note the questions earlier in question time. I'm pretty sure the Leader of the Opposition didn't even meet any of those individuals at Moranbah. He didn't take the time to get there and head up to Central Queensland to get into a coalmine and see exactly what's happening on the ground. Whether you're in Bulga, whether you're in Dawson or whether you're working at Cannington, we are supporting those individuals who are out there working hard. We are the ones out there supporting their industry. We are the ones who continue to put money on the table to ensure there are opportunities into the future.
We've put $225 million into Exploring for the Future—$125 million most recently. Exploring for the Future will ensure that, as we move forward, there are opportunities for additional exploration so that we can identify more resources, find more jobs and open up places like the Beetaloo Basin. We have put out a strategic basin plan for the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, the hottest play on the planet, with over $200 million committed from us already. That includes infrastructure like roads. That includes putting forward $50 million to ensure that exploration occurs earlier, not later, so we can get this gas into our systems as soon as we possibly can. So there are opportunities for the resources sector. There are opportunities for more jobs in our sector. There are opportunities for us to continue growth and continue to contribute to the Australian economy.
I was asked about alternatives and whether there are any alternatives. We know that those opposite are having a go each way, but that has become no way. They are not supporting offshore oil and gas. They are not supporting gas. They are not supporting coal. They are not supporting those hardworking men and women who are out there in the resources sector every single day putting money into our economy, putting royalties into the bank and ensuring that the essential services that Australians rely on can be paid for.
There are opportunities into the future. We will ensure they are developed. We will ensure that people have a job. We will ensure that, in the member for Dawson's electorate, there will be even more opportunities than there are right now.