Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Water. Will the Deputy Prime Minister please provide an update to the House on how the Australian resources and energy sector is driving our economy through record exports and what this means to regional communities like those I represent? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of alternative policy approaches?
I thank the honourable member for his question. I might bring some attention to some of the derisive sneers that have happened across the chamber at a person who has been a very accomplished businessperson, who has stood behind the great city of Gladstone. There's a derisive sneer towards the member for Flynn. There is a derisive sneer towards the people of the great city of Gladstone and the people of Central Queensland. It follows their usual line of thinking that regional people are somehow below contempt. But the minerals industry is so vitally important for our nation. Look at exactly what Australia produces: iron ores and concentrates of nearly $153 billion in exports in 2021; coal of over $39 billion in exports—and I'll say a little bit more about that later on; natural gas in excess of $30 billion; education related travel services at $26.6 billion; gold—another mineral—at over $26 billion; beef at $8.3 billion; aluminium and ores at over $8.1 million. That's followed by copper ores, crude petroleum and then wheat. In those top 10, one is from the service industry. Everything else is from primary production.
For our terms of trade, if we are not putting things on the boat that the world wants, we are not going to be able to get all the things off the boat that are so emblematic in the lives we lead, from the fuel in our car to the car we drive, to the phone we listen on, to the clothes on our back. The product that comes off the boat is determined by people's desire for our currency, and our currency is determined by people's desire for the products they buy off us and their minerals.
The honourable member for Flynn talked about alternative policies, and we know that within the Labor-Greens caucus there is a desire to shut down our coal industry, to shut down our gas industry—
and to move away from fossil fuels, but they never tell us what they're going to replace them with. The member for Grayndler went up to Moranbah. He wouldn't even take a media contingent with him, saying that a Facebook post was as far as he was going to go. He may have been in Mooloolaba, not Moranbah; who would've known? He was never seen near a coal mine, and he was never seen with mineworkers in the media.
We are proud of our mineral exports. We understand where the wealth of this nation comes from. We'll continue to stand behind the people of the great city of Gladstone, and we won't be the sneering cohort that we see on the other side.