Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Urgency
It's not pork-barrelling. It is going to every single federal electorate to support the delivery of community-led grassroots environment projects. These are projects identified by the communities as deliverable and things that will make a difference in their regions. While our government is getting on with the job of delivering this practical action, there are some in this place who are instead calling to invoke a so-called climate emergency—to shut down our mining industry and, particularly, our coal export sector, despite the fact that the coal produced in Australia is the cleanest-burning coal in the world.
While the government are working hard to address climate change and while we continue to meet and beat our emissions targets, we will not do so by selling out our jobs and our industries. Mining has for many years been an important industry in my home state of New South Wales, and it continues to this day to be an important industry for the Australian economy and for the rural and regional communities that I am very proud to represent. While only 0.1 per cent of land in New South Wales is used for mining, there are a range of minerals and natural resources—not just coal—including copper, gold, lead, silver, titanium, zircon and zinc. We need to realise that these minerals we mine are exactly what we need to transition to in the future. Without lithium, for example, you can't drive an electric car. And let's not talk about how many minerals go into our phones. We need mining in our country. We need mining for our future.
The mining industry makes a massive economic contribution. In New South Wales alone, mining royalties total $1.8 billion. But the importance of mining is not just about royalties and filling government coffers; it is about the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of workers in New South Wales and beyond, and the thousands of associated businesses that depend on and support the industry. Indeed, mines right across New South Wales, be they in the Hunter Valley, the central west, the far west, New England or the Illawarra, employ close to 25,000 workers. That's just in New South Wales. And they support more than 7,000 businesses.
Those in this industry are repeatedly and consistently looking for ways to innovate. They stay at the forefront of best practice so that they can continue to mine our natural resources in the smartest and most sustainable way possible while they continue to support jobs and businesses and rehabilitate their land, not just in my home state but right across Australia.
Climate change is a global issue, and it requires a global solution. This government is committed to Australia playing its part in that global solution to reduce emissions, and we will continue to do that while growing our economy and keeping our electricity prices down. Unlike some in this place, we will not do this by closing industries on which Australian workers and businesses depend, or by imposing new taxes on hardworking Australians and hardworking Australian businesses. Instead, we will continue to achieve our emissions reduction goals through pursuing practical and meaningful environmental outcomes.