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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31529


Mr HAASE (2:56 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. Would the minister update the House on Australia's performance in attracting major projects, investment and new jobs to Australia? Are there any alternative policies?


Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) —I thank the member for Kalgoorlie for his question and for his very strong interest in attracting investment not only to his seat of Kalgoorlie—which has done particularly well in recent times—but also to Australia. This government stands for investment, jobs and growth.

ABARE recently released a report which shows just how well we are delivering. In April 2004, ABARE released a list which showed there are some 192 resource based projects under development, of which some 62 are already under construction or committed to. This is a record number of projects at an advanced stage. They underline the fact that we are continuing to attract investment to the tune of some $21 billion in these projects alone. Invest Australia, a division of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, has played a major role in attracting 96 of these projects, worth some $15 billion, which have secured or created some 9,000 new jobs.

What is the alternative to this? I am asked by the member for Kalgoorlie whether there are threats. There is a long list of threats from the Labor Party in terms of investment and future investment in Australia. The first on that list is to abolish Invest Australia—the very body that has attracted 96 projects worth $15 billion and secured or created some 9,000 jobs. I call on the Labor Party to reverse that decision, as they are so good at doing that now, and to work with this government to attract investment here. Secondly, Labor propose a massive new tax on the resource sector. By winding back the diesel fuel excise rebate Labor would increase the excise on the mining industry by $500 million. I ask Labor, in the interests of encouraging resource development in Australia, to drop that proposal.

Thirdly, of course—and I know this is the member for Hunter's favourite policy—there is the highly interventionist policy of `use it or lose it' on petroleum resource leases. There is no single policy that will frighten away investment in the petroleum industry faster and bring an end to exploration for oil and gas reserves faster than that policy. I ask the Labor Party to do a backflip on that policy and stop the damage that they are already doing.

This government has delivered the policy settings that are attracting a record amount of investment in Australia. It is time the Labor Party did a triple backflip and abandoned the policies that are frightening investment away from Australia. It is time they reversed their decisions. It is time they joined with this government, adopted our policies and ensured that we continue the economic growth in Australia.