House debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2024


Future Made in Australia Bill 2024; Second Reading

9:15 am

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Today we are proud to introduce the Future Made in Australia Bill 2024.

This bill is a major step in implementing the Albanese Labor government's Future Made in Australia agenda, to deliver our country's next generation of prosperity.

It brings us closer to our vision for a prosperous future for all Australians and it helps us secure Australia's place in a shifting global economic and strategic landscape on the back of the global transition to net zero.

The world is changing and the pace of that change is accelerating as the planet moves to a future powered by cheaper and cleaner energy.

As the Prime Minister has said, this change means we are in the middle of the biggest transformation in the global economy since the industrial revolution.

At the same time geostrategic competition is growing.

The international rules-based order is under constant pressure. Population demographics are shifting.

And the risk of major supply shocks is rising.

Amidst all of this churn and change our path to prosperity is clear.

Australia has been dealt the most incredible set of cards to make ourselves the primary beneficiaries of the global net zero economy.

We have a unique combination of geological, meteorological, geographical and geopolitical comparative advantages and we know it would be an egregious breach of our generational responsibilities as a government if we didn't play this winning hand.

This bill is all about realising our genuine advantages and recognising that our future growth prospects lie at the intersection of our industrial, resources, skills and energy bases and our attractiveness as an investment destination so we can grasp the jobs and opportunities of the clean energy transition.

The world is moving on and Australia needs to move with it, because, if we get stuck in the past, this country will be poorer and it will be more vulnerable and we won't make the most of the golden opportunity before us. Our Future Made in Australia agenda responds to this.

Our goal here is to power the future, not manufacture the past. Our strategy is to engage and invest, not retreat and protect.

Our emphasis is on attracting private investment, not replacing it; to prosper from change, not just protect ourselves from it.

And the bill we introduce today is putting this plan into practice to help make Australia a renewable energy superpower, and an indispensable part of the global net zero economy; to more closely align our national security and economic security interests; to modernise and strengthen our economy, in a world built on cheaper and cleaner energy; to grab the vast industrial and economic opportunities from the world's shift to net zero; and to share the benefits of those opportunities with every Australian.

We know that to succeed our plan must be underpinned by discipline and rigour, and that's what this legislation is all about.

This bill embeds into law the strict criteria and robust processes that will guide our decision-making and set us up for success to help give investors the clarity and the certainty they need to invest and unlock growth in our economy.

It's about ensuring public investment is prudent and powerful—public investment that pulls in substantial private investment and guides it towards Australia's national and economic interests.

This legislation is built on three pillars: first, a national interest framework, which will help us identify sectors where we have a sustained comparative advantage in the new net zero economy, or an economic resilience and security imperative to invest; second, a robust sector assessment process to help us better understand and break down barriers to private investment in key areas of the economy; and, third, a set of community benefit principles that will ensure public investment, and the private investment it generates, leads to strong returns but also leads to stronger communities.

The three pillars will work together to help us build a more diversified and a more resilient economy powered by renewable energy.

The framework helps determine our investment direction.

The Treasury-led sector assessments will help us identify and address the barriers to attracting that private capital we need, and the principles will make sure the benefits flow to communities, workers and businesses right around our country.

The National Interest Framework outlines criteria to assess sectors against, to determine where it is in Australia's national interest to unlock private investment at scale.

It has an economic security and resilience stream where domestic sovereign capability is necessary to protect our national security interests or ensure our economy is sufficiently resilient to shocks, and a net zero transformation stream where industries support global decarbonisation, and there is a reasonable prospect of a sustained comparative advantage.

We've already put the framework into action.

It informed our Future Made in Australia investment focus in the budget—on refining and processing critical minerals, producing renewable hydrogen, exploring production of green metals and low carbon liquid fuels and supporting targeted manufacturing of clean energy technologies including solar and value-adding in the battery supply chain.

This bill will enshrine the framework into law.

The framework will be supported by transparent, Treasury-led analysis of the extent that sectors align with the National Interest Framework.

The bill empowers the government to direct Treasury to undertake independent assessments, and these assessments will be tabled in parliament to support transparency and rigorous decision-making and help deliver value for money.

Public investment will be an important and substantial part of our plan, but it's only a sliver of the private investment that we need to attract to transform our economy.

The most important role for public investment will be to unlock the vast amount of private sector capital that we will need to deploy an additional $225 billion by 2050, by one estimate, to transition the energy system and realise net zero opportunities in heavy industries.

And the framework and the sector assessments will be instrumental here—identifying the barriers to private investment and opportunities to address them, informed by Treasury's expert analysis and evidence based assessments on top of their normal policy advice, helping private investors to make considered decisions, confident that they know where the government stands.

The bill will also outline a series of community benefit principles, because we know that just pumping capital into the transformation won't be enough if we don't pay attention to how we deploy it.

The principles will ensure that our investments promote safe, secure, well-paid jobs with good conditions; develop skilled, inclusive workforces; take a collaborative approach to engaging local communities, including First Nations communities and communities directly affected by the transition to net zero; strengthen our domestic industrial capabilities and our local supply chains; and also demonstrate transparency and compliance with Australia's tax system.

They'll be applied on a program-by-program basis, recognising the different contexts and opportunities of these investments, including through Future Made in Australia plans, a new tool to support broader community benefits so they're delivered in a way that is a fit for purpose and project specific.

These principles will be our lodestar to help ensure our people and our economy are the primary beneficiaries of change, and we'll consult on the details of how the principles and plans will be put into practice.

Our $22.7 billion budget investment demonstrates our commitment to this agenda. But, as I said, it's only a fraction of what we will need.

Public investment will show us the path to a future made in Australia, but private capital will pave the way.

That's why our Future Made in Australia agenda is an investment strategy and it's a growth strategy, to provide investors with the clarity, certainty and the cooperation that they need from government. And this bill embeds the discipline and rigour to make it succeed.

The time to act is now.

The world is changing with or without Australia.

The golden opportunity in front of us will disappear if we don't take these steps. We've already suffered through a decade of denial and delay under those opposite, and, if they had their way, there'd be another wasted decade ahead, going down a nuclear road to nowhere.

We have a chosen a better path—a path to prosperity, a path that is mainstream and middle of the road that reflects the new economic orthodoxy of a churning and changing world, a path backed by evidence and supported by science, a path that will be rigorously interrogated and transparently explained to the Australian people, a path that uplifts all Australians and every community, not just some, a path that leads to a future made right here in Australia.

Full details of the measure are contained in the Explanatory Memorandum.

Debate adjourned.