Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction. Can the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is securing our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by backing our local manufacturers? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?
YLOR (—) (): Mr Speaker, congratulations. Thank you to the member for Robertson for her question. She knows how important manufacturing is to the economy and to her economy on the Central Coast, where there are 550 manufacturers employing 4,000 people across the Central Coast. She also understands how important manufacturing is to the recovery from COVID.
That is why we committed $1.3 billion to the Modern Manufacturing Initiative. We are backing our manufacturing sector in a number of areas. One of those is clean energy and recycling. Just last week we committed $44 million to support manufacturers to develop initiatives and facilities that will give them a real competitive advantage in the coming years. That includes $20 million for Pact Group, which has a site—one of 13 sites across Australia—at Somersby on the Central Coast. Just last week, I was lucky enough to visit one of their other sites, at Villawood, where they are converting and recycling plastics into high-quality products. This project will provide 900 jobs and recycle 125,000 tonnes of plastics into high-quality projects. This is all about taking new technologies and working to scale up operations to provide great products for all Australians. There are now 80,000 more people working in manufacturing than at the beginning of the pandemic. That is a million Australians working in manufacturing.
But I am asked about alternatives. The alternative is what we saw when those opposite were in power: one in eight manufacturing workers lost their jobs. That was 128,000 Australians who lost their livelihoods. And, of that 128,000, 110,000 were apprentices. One in five apprentices lost their jobs, and that was a result that followed on from those opposite putting in place a carbon tax. We saw decimation of places like Kurri Kurri—450 Australians lost their jobs at Kurri Kurri. Now we are building a gas generator there, and those opposite cannot decide whether or not they are in favour of it. Some are; some aren't. Who knows which way the Leader of the Opposition goes? With 'each-way Albo', we never know where he stands.
I withdraw, Mr Speaker. We never know which way they're going to go, but one thing we can be sure of is that they're always going to love a carbon tax that destroys jobs. We will support manufacturing in this country every day of the week.