Thursday, 5 December 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Canavan. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Liberal-National government's plan is working to support jobs in our resources sector, including projects like the Adani mine?
There's been fantastic progress in resource projects right around our nation this year, especially, as Senator McDonald has expressed, around the Adani Carmichael mine, which I know she's a big supporter of. It's now been 201 days since the 18 May federal election, and how good is it that 200 people have been employed at the Adani Carmichael mine site since then? Basically, in those 200 days we've had one person a day get a job at the Adani mine, thanks to the fact that this government stood up for jobs at the election. This government and the Australian people rejected the Labor Party's approach, which was to shut down jobs and shut down our great coal industry. Those 200 people are helping to drive and move around 50 big yellow things—bulldozers, scrapers, water trucks and compactors—at the Carmichael mine site. The fact there are 200 people there means that the work camp at the Carmichael site is full. I visited that work camp a couple of years ago. It was depressing to see the delays that the Queensland government had presided over and a work camp empty, a gym empty and a mess centre empty. But now, a couple of years on, it is full of activity. Santa clause is going to be very busy on Christmas Eve around the Galilee Basin because there are a lot of people working there —a lot of people in jobs, a lot of people providing for their families.
But the benefits of the Carmichael mine do not end there. Contracts of more than $500 million have now been provided to businesses all around Australia, including, the other week, Wagner's—a $35 million contract to do work at the Carmichael mine site. That extends the benefits of backing projects like this to Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville—towns all around Queensland are this Christmas benefiting from the fact that we are standing up for jobs. We are standing up for our great coal industry and making sure we continue to be a strong resources nation that provides jobs for Australians.
The resources sector continues to set more records than Ian Thorpe. We delivered a record trade surplus for the September quarter driven by lots of great Australian industries, including our agricultural sector. Our resources sector provided a huge chunk of the growth, particularly in the last year, in increased LNG, coal and iron ore exports. In fact, for the first 10 months of this year, our resources exports were worth $245 billion, a big increase on last year. Our total resource industry exports have increased by 19 per cent in just one year. Yesterday's national accounts showed that the resources sector accounted for one-quarter of the total growth in that quarter. It is only by backing sectors like the resources sector that we can afford to pay for the public services and good welfare system that we have in this country. That's why we back this sector and that's why we will always stand up for it.
We can, because this week there has been an update on that front. A few months ago in this place, the Labor and Greens parties got together and supported an inquiry into regional jobs. With great fanfare, they presumably wanted to develop a plan and policies around regional jobs in Australia. The report came out yesterday; the majority report from Labor and Greens did not make a single recommendation for regional jobs. There was not one recommendation from this group—not one plan, not one policy, not one idea from the Labor Party for supporting jobs in our regional areas.
At the election they did have a policy. They had a policy called the 'Just Transition Authority', which was all about shutting down the coal industry and putting people out of work. They had a chance to reject that yesterday in that report; they were silent on that. They've still got a secret plan to back a transition authority to put people out of work, and the Labor Party still haven't learnt the lesson to support jobs in this country. (Time expired)