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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9405

Ms PARKE (3:21 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Trade, representing the Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism. What does the final investment decision taken by the Gorgon joint partners mean for Australia?

Mr CREAN (Minister for Trade) —I thank the member for her question because not only is this decision important for her state; it is important for the nation. Today the Minister for Resources and Energy is in Perth witnessing the final development approval by the Premier of Western Australia, essentially giving the go-ahead to the Gorgon LNG development. This go-ahead locks in the largest resource project in Australia’s history. This House has heard over the last few weeks about important long-term gas contracts that have been secured, importantly, with China, with India, with Japan and with Korea, but today’s announcement equals the sum of those parts plus, because it is projected that the Gorgon LNG development will involve $300 billion in export earnings over its life.

Not only is this great news for the Australian economy as a whole; it is great news for job opportunities going forward. If one thinks of the development, it is a $43 billion development project. ACIL Economics has estimated that, over the life of this project, it will boost Australia’s GDP by some $65 billion and it will generate government revenues of $40 billion—and just think of how important that is going to be in terms of continuing this government’s investment in the nation’s future, in its schools, in its skills, in its innovation, in its research and development and in its infrastructure. The project will also return more than $33 billion to the economy through the use of Australian goods and services throughout the nation. So far as jobs are concerned, it is estimated that it will create at the peak of its construction 10,000 jobs and, over the life of the project, 3½ thousand direct and indirect jobs. The Prime Minister announced last week the National Resource Sector Employment Taskforce. This is important to ensure that, as this and other resource developments go ahead, we have not only the job opportunities but the skills to undertake them.

Finally, I would just observe the point that, whilst this is a hugely important announcement, this will not be just an example of Australia exporting the resource. It is also the expertise and the carbon capture storage technology that is involved in this—it is the much greater comparative advantage that Australia holds not just as a supplier of a resource but as the supplier of clean resource energies, which themselves will command a premium going forward as the globe grapples with the challenge of climate change. This is Australia’s comparative advantage. It is only one dimension of it but a huge impetus, a huge fillip, to it. This demonstrates Australia’s contribution and its ability to play as a global and clean energy superpower—quality, cleaner: this is a brand Australia should be proud of and it is something that we as a government are very happy to be supportive of.