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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1937

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (12:02): This debate shows the complete disconnect that the opposition have that I see in this place every week. The opposition come into this parliament day after day and complain. They want more money spent on universities. They want more money spent on schools. They want more money spent on aged care. They want more money spent on disabilities, more money on hospitals, more money for everything bar the kitchen sink. But, when it comes to creating the wealth that actually can pay for those things, they're against it every single time. We've got a complete disconnect. As the member for Kennedy correctly said, the Labor members of old would be rolling in their graves if they saw how today's Labor Party has rolled over and sold out to the Greens.

If you want to create wealth, if you want to have more money for all the things that are important that all of us as members of parliament see in our electorates, you've got to get behind the wealth creation projects of this nation. Whether you like it or not, it is the coalmines of this nation—that black coal seam that runs down our eastern seaboard—that are one of the greatest sources of wealth creation that we have in this nation. And yet the Labor Party want to close it down and stop it, to stop jobs. And why? Simply to try to win green votes in the city, to give up on their own people in the regions.

We had the member for Hunter talking about the decline in thermal coal exports. Unfortunately, the member for Hunter is completely out of date. Why a member who represents a coal area would come into this parliament and talk down the prospects of coal exports in this nation is beyond me.

Let's look at some of the figures that the members on the other side conveniently forgot. Last year in this country our coal exports increased in value by 33 per cent. We had the largest value of coal exports in our nation's history. Last year our exports of thermal coal to Japan increased by 50 per cent. China's consumption of coal last year increased by 5.2 per cent. The International Energy Agency, with their latest predictions, predict the world demand for coal will increase by 200 million tonnes out to the year 2020. Some information came in only this morning: in January our exports of coal to China increased by 9.4 per cent year on year. China also increased their imports of coal in January up 40 per cent from Indonesia and up 43 per cent from Russia. Yet we have members of the Labor Party talking down the prospects of coal. What would the old members of the Labor Party say if they saw that?

The member for Kennedy also talked about what's happening in the USA. We saw a release from only last week from their Energy Information Administration with the title, U.S. coal production, exports, and prices increased in 2017. In fact the US last year had a 60 per cent increase in their exports of coal, the largest year-on-year increase since the year 2001. Again members of the Labor Party talk this down and pretend that the coal thermal exports are in this massive decline.

As the member for Kennedy said, we do need more baseload generation in this nation. Whether it comes from coal, gas or some other combination of renewables with some type of storage doesn't matter; we have to do it at the most economical price. When the member for Kennedy talks about comparing the cost of generating electricity from coal versus some type of intermittent and unreliable renewables, he is not making a comparison of apples and apples. Even though he is correct that coal has a much lower cost to generate electricity, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison. You cannot compare dispatchable power and intermittent and unreliable power in price. They are not the same product. (Time expired)