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Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Page: 7855

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (19:35): I want to take the opportunity in the adjournment debate tonight to address an area of particular importance to my region, and I acknowledge that the member for Paterson preceded me earlier in this adjournment debate with more of his hot air on the future of the mining industry. It is an industry that is important not only to my region but to me personally. I am a fifth generation coal­mining family in the Illawarra region. At the end of this month I will be participating in a very important ceremony that remembers the terrible mining disaster at Mount Kembla in 1902. In fact, three members of my mother's family were killed at the time. I take the future of the industry in my region very seriously.

There is no doubt in my mind that we must take action on climate change and this government is pursuing exactly the right direction in achieving that. In doing that we will get the balance right in supporting jobs in areas like mine. Beyond that I have been working with the member for Throsby and with some people from local industry including: the local Australian Industry Group; the i3net, which is a very innovative group of manufacturers who meet and look to advance local industry; AusIndustry's Mr John Grace; and a great advocate for the local mining industry, Mr Ray Tolhurst. Ray was known to me previously in his life as a TAFE leader and as a TAFE teacher I worked closely with him, but Ray now represents the mining engineers organisation in my area. For a while now we have been working on a particular project that the federal government has been supporting financially. We launched it last Friday in the electorate. This is a new online service directory that will bring together all of the Illawarra mining technology service and manufacturing businesses in one place, so that we can reach into the capacity for these businesses to be part of the current and what I am absolutely certain will be the ongoing mining boom in this nation.

We attended a local manufacturer Ringway at Unanderra. Ringway is a local business that is an electronics and electrical supplier to the mining industry. Ringway Control are a part of i3net that I referred to earlier, the innovative engineering and manufacturing sector in my region. We were joined there by various representatives, including Ray Tolhurst representing the Aus­tralian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Illawarra branch and representatives of Ringway business including local represen­tatives of the Ai Group, and we launched this fantastic website.

As I indicated, it is an initiative that we believe reflects our confidence and optimism for the future of this sector in the local area. I certainly encourage anybody who is not already on the directory to join up. It is at More importantly, we are hoping that mining sectors across the nation wanting suppliers and manufacturers to provide for their boom period will look to this directory to provide new employment and job opportunities to our region. It is a very important capacity for building our manufacturing and services sector locally, in particular allowing them to participate and take advantage of the mining boom as it rolls out across the nation.

I also want to thank Rod Brown from Ringway who hosted the event and is also the chair of the i3net sector. He gave me a tour. I had a look at a lot of the equipment and the work that they were doing there, particularly around the conveyor belt safety systems, a really good initiative. My father was an electrical mines inspector, so it was very interesting to me to see some of the advances that have occurred in the industry. I thank Rod and his team for their hospitality in taking us through that. I finish up each expressing my great optimism in the future not only of the mining sector in the Illawarra but also of its associated manufacturing base.