WA Resources Consideration in Detail

Federation Chamber - BILLS - Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020 - Consideration in Detail

Watch Matt's speech here

Mr KEOGH (Burt) (19:15): I'm quite happy to speak on consideration in detail in respect of resources today because Labor is the party of working Australians. We seek to maximise employment opportunities wherever we can, and the resources industry is such a critical part of that. One of the things that we always need to make sure in supporting the resources industry and supporting the opportunity for jobs is that we also have an eye for the way in which that industry is rapidly automating. This is good because it creates efficiency and productivity in the industry, but we need to make sure that we work closely with government and the states, and in particular with the TAFE and VET sector, to ensure that they are providing the training that is needed for our workers, not only for people trying to come into the resources industry but to help people retrain when their jobs are going to become, and are already becoming, automated. We need to make sure that they are able to be retrained properly.

It's great to see in Western Australia, in my own electorate, the South Metropolitan TAFE working with one of our great resources companies, Rio Tinto, in creating a course on automation within TAFE. They are also working with our local high schools, including high schools in my electorate, to make sure that kids as they come out of school are job ready and able to go into the resources sector, the newly automated and much more productive resources sector, that we see in Australia today.

We also need to make sure that we continue to work with our mining equipment technology services, making sure that they can grow not just through growth in the industry here in Australia. We need to help that sector to diversify so that it can become a supplier of mining services and technical services throughout the world, so that, as we see upswings and downturns in the resources sector in Australia, it can take advantage of how those ups and downs across the globe are going and make sure that they are protected from not just what is happening in Australia.

Of course Labor recognises the critical importance of Western Australia in the resources story of this nation, and that's why we have elevated into a shadow ministerial portfolio WA resources, because not only is it a different resources sector; it is one that is based around iron ore as well as oil and gas, and especially important now are our critical mineral industries—minerals like lithium and other minerals that are going into and are part of our battery and modern technology around the world. This is a growing area that Western Australia is uniquely placed in.

Let's just look at the stats when it comes to resources: resources jobs across the nation, 240,000—Western Australia, upwards of 210,000 now; economic value, $138 billion nationally—$76.7 billion just in Western Australia, and that's over 55 per cent of the nation's resources sector; share of the economy might only be 7.6 per cent of the national economy, but for Western Australia the resources sector is 30 per cent of the state economy; exploration, $1.9 billion nationally—$1.2 billion of that is happening in Western Australia. And a little-known fact: two per cent of Australia's GDP goes out of just one port in Western Australia, Port Hedland. That's how much of the heavy lifting we're doing in Western Australia, and it comes from the resources sector. That's what we have recognised. Not only is the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction not here now but—bearing in mind Western Australia is one of the biggest producers of LNG exports in the world now, together with our friends in the Northern Territory through the INPEX project—guess how many times he has come to Western Australia in the term of this government? Zero times. That shows how the government recognises the importance of this sector to the economy and, in particular, to Western Australia. I think that is very telling. When we look at some of the most important issues in the resources sector, the recommendations of the report—

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Debate adjourned.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 19:20