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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5838

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:26): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister agree with the Minister for Resources and Energy that 'no-one can rule out a mine or two closing' because of the government's carbon tax? Can the Prime Minister guarantee that the Moranbah North mine, the Broadmeadow mine, the North Goonyella mine, the Carborough Downs mine, the Newlands mine or the Oaky Creek coal complex No. 1, all of which are in the electorate of Capricornia, will remain open if her carbon tax is introduced?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:27): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question and I certainly thank him for the reference to the electorate of Capricornia, because, as the Leader of the Opposition may well know, I was very recently in that electorate visiting with the local member there, who does a fantastic job in this place representing that community in this parliament. I want to adopt her words—I am certainly going to give her the credit for these words. As she moves around her community, and people have heard on the radio or seen in the newspapers or seen on the TV screens—

Mr Robb interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Goldstein is warned!

Ms GILLARD: the Leader of the Opposition's fear campaign and scare campaign about the future of the resources industry—

Mr Pyne: It was your own minister!

The SPEAKER: The member for Sturt is warned!

Ms GILLARD: she actually meets that fear campaign with a very simple line: she says to people, 'Believe your eyes.' Believe your eyes because right throughout that electorate you can see new development. Believe your eyes because that new development will of course be continuing. Believe your eyes because that electorate, like resources based electorates around the country, has a great future with the development of the resources industry.

These apocryphal statements from the Leader of the Opposition remind me that this is not the first time we have heard fear campaigns about mining. We have had fear campaigns in the past. There was the fear campaign run when Bob Hawke took a brave decision to protect Kakadu and we were told that the mining industry would be closed. What is the truth since?

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked whether she agreed with the minister for resources that you could not rule out a mine or two closing and guaranteeing that these mines in Capricornia would not close. I would ask you to bring her back to the very straightforward question.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will directly relate her answer to the question.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am simply reminding us that fear campaigns in the past have been simply that. When we have seen fear campaigns about mining in the past, we have seen mining growth afterwards. That was true of the fear campaign following Kakadu when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister. It was true of the fear campaign run by the coalition about native title. Mining has grown since. It is true of the fear campaign we saw last year by the coalition about the minerals resource rent tax, when now, of course, they are there saying, 'It's okay to put royalties up but mining taxation is fine as long as it is decided upon by a state Liberal government.' Despite all of that fear campaigning, we have seen jobs and investment in mining rise. Of course, the responsible minister was on radio discussing these matters this morning, and I would refer the Leader of the Opposition to his words—and I think these are very wise ones: 'Yes, there are going to be a few gaseous mines challenged, but there is also going to be a huge expansion in this industry that is actually going to create jobs over time.' Let us go through those words again: 'create jobs over time'.

So, for people who work in mining, what they should be reassured about in the future is that there will be more jobs in mining. For communities that directly rely on mining, what they should be reassured about for the future is that there will be more jobs and more investment in resources. For the Australian economy overall, what people can be reassured about is that there is a huge pipeline of investment into our resources sector. This is a very special time in the Australian economy and it falls to us to make sure that that new prosperity is shared as new opportunities for all Australians. The fear campaign of the Leader of the Opposition will be exposed as just that. The resources industry has a very bright future and people who work in it, like the people in the member for Capricornia's seat, know that from their own experience.