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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1029

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:30): Last April, at the height of the anti-coal hysteria that was sweeping the latte belts of the nation, a small group of coalition backbenchers created and formed the Monash Forum to counter the fake news. We sought to acknowledge that the coal industry provides an element of strength that is invaluable to our nation. It has 150,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is our largest export earner, underwriting the state budgets of both the New South Wales government and the Queensland government. With hundreds of coal-fired power stations opening up around the world, it is an industry with a great future.

After the election and the success of the Monash Forum, it now appears that there are many who want to get on board. This year we've had the member for Hunter argue the case for coal, saying that in this parliament he would argue with 'great energy and commitment'. We've also had the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, in a bit of a turnaround, say that the coal industry should be celebrated. With all this new-found support, I propose the formation of a parliamentary friends of Australian coal exports group. I intend to write to every member of the opposition, hoping to find a co-chair for that committee and inviting all of them to join. I look forward to coming back soon with a list of those who have signed up.