Thursday, 4 February 2021
Before moving general business notice of motion 973, I ask that the names of Senators Molan and Rennick be added to the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Canavan, Davey, McDonald, McMahon, Molan and Rennick, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes The Nationals' Manufacturing 2035 plan to generate 800,000 jobs by:
(i) leveraging the regions' comparative advantage across strategic industries and their access to natural resources,
(ii) adding further value to regional exports by turning primary products into manufactured goods and complex products,
(iii) ensuring fibre processing is explicitly included as a manufacturing priority,
(iv) increasing trade efforts and growing exports,
(v) providing access to low-cost, long-term finance and tax incentives,
(vi) strengthening Australian Government procurement policies,
(vii) facilitating early exposure to trades and harmonisation of trade qualifications and employment conditions,
(viii) supporting Anti-Dumping Commission investigations and taking countervailing action against overseas subsidies,
(ix) investing in reliable, affordable energy and strategic infrastructure that supports manufacturing, and
(x) investing in oil and gas development including finding new sources of oil supplies; and
(i) the generation of manufacturing jobs in regional Australia,
(ii) regional development, including decentralisation,
(iii) strategic regionalisation through partnerships with our state, territory, and local government counterparts,
(iv) securing our national sovereignty by reversing the trend of the decline of Australian manufacturing,
(v) development of regional hubs to connect manufacturers with local businesses, education providers, research and development organisations, and governments, and
(vi) investment in reliable and affordable energy and in strategic infrastructure that can support manufacturing.
The Greens oppose this motion. The Nationals claim to have a plan for manufacturing, but all this is is a plan for locking in a climate catastrophe and destroying the future of regional communities, for the corporate profits of your mates. What we need is industry powered by renewable energy, not oil and gas, where we make, re-use and remake durable, ecologically sustainable goods. Our manufacturing future is one where manufacturing doesn't just work for the corporate profit but works instead for people, communities and the environment, where workplaces are inclusive, democratic, innovative and ethical, where meaningful, safe, well-paid work isn't rare or at risk but the norm. The future is achievable and it's achievable now. The coalition needs to get with it or get out of the way.
One Nation supports the general thrust of this motion. We also support the reinsertion to this motion of page 18 of the Nationals' manufacturing policy that was released last week and the reinsertion of all references to coal that the Nationals did not have the courage to include in today's motion and removed from the policy. The largest cost category of manufacturing—and increasingly agriculture, due to electricity prices rising—today is electricity prices. Without including coal, the Nationals' motion is a hollow stunt. Without coal-fired power, the Nationals' policy and motion are pointless.
Labor asks that the question on general business notice of motion 973 be divided so that we can oppose paragraph (a) and support paragraph (b). I seek leave to make a short statement.
Labor will not be supporting paragraph (a) of this motion. Labor supports Australian manufacturing and the jobs it creates. Hence we'll be supporting paragraph (b). Labor does not need rogue National policy ideas that the Liberals don't themselves support, like new publicly funded coal-fired power stations. We have our own ideas, like the National Rail Manufacturing Plan. We agree with the Nationals backbench that they and their coalition partners have neglected the manufacturing industry, having presided over the loss of 90,000 jobs in manufacturing since their election in 2013. Australian manufacturers need meaningful support. They don't need an empty stunt by disgruntled Nationals in the Senate, who have had nearly eight years to speak up. This is a plan which was rejected on day one by senior Liberal Party ministers. This motion is simply an embarrassing demonstration of how ineffective the Nationals are within their government. Every time they put up an idea, the Liberals shoot it down. They get shot down day after day, and here's another example.
I just note that the motion refers to the Nationals' Manufacturing 2035 plan, and I'm a little bit confused as to whether that's the government or whether it's the Nationals or whether it's the Liberals. It might not surprise you that plans of the Nationals are not high on my reading list. If you had come to me with your plan, I might have been more—