Senate debates

Monday, 30 August 2021


Gladstone: Mining Industry

1:56 pm

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor has a clear plan for northern Australia. It's very simple: more jobs in more industries. Unlike our political opponents on the left and right, we think that there is room for jobs in traditional industries and newer industries to grow well into the future. On that note, there are exciting things happening in Gladstone in Central Queensland right now, particularly in the field of hydrogen.

There is obviously a lot of interest around the world in the opportunities for hydrogen as a new low-emission fuel. I'm very pleased to say that regional cities like Gladstone and Townsville are leading the way in capturing the job opportunities that lie in wait in this field. Focusing on Gladstone, there have been a couple of really exciting announcements recently. First of all, there was a historic signing of a memorandum of understanding for a Gladstone hydrogen ecosystem. This has had strong support from the Palaszczuk Labor government in Queensland, and it has now attracted a range of partners including Sumitomo Corporation, Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group and Central Queensland University, who have all come to the party to try to capture these opportunities and make sure we continue growing jobs in this new industry in Gladstone into the future.

I had the good luck recently to meet with the members of this consortium with Mayor of Gladstone Matt Burnett, who is a real champion for this industry into the future. The end goal of this consortium is the export of hydrogen from Gladstone by 2030, and they're certainly well on the way, especially when you consider that even last week we saw another step in the right direction with Rio Tinto and Sumitomo Corporation announcing a partnership to study the construction of a hydrogen pilot plant at Rio Tinto's Yarwun Alumina Refinery in Gladstone. I visited there recently and learned about the commitment that Rio Tinto has to replacing natural gas with hydrogen in its refining process, and I'm pleased to see more steps along this way in Gladstone pursuing hydrogen.