Thursday, 13 October 2022

Shadow Minister for Resources, Senator Susan McDonald, has blasted claims made by Resources Minister, Madeleine King, that the mining industry needs to do more to improve its image, saying Labor had done the most to sully mining’s reputation and should take responsibility.

After this week touring one of Australia’s most important resources export hubs, Gladstone, Senator McDonald said resources companies and peak bodies had more than proved their worth and longevity.

“Minister King has told the resources sector to turn around its negative perceptions but perhaps she should be talking to her own Cabinet colleagues who have repeatedly talked down coal and gas over some years,” she said.

“Energy Minister Chris Bowen has labelled a gas-fired recovery ‘a joke’ and last year said it was highly unlikely that coal workers should expect their children to follow them into the industry.

“Another Cabinet member Mark Butler has said that gas and coal are ‘last century’ and that there is no future for gas in Australia’s energy sector.

“Now Defence Minister Richard Marles was quoted in 2019 saying it was ‘wonderful’ that the global market for thermal coal had collapsed.

“Victoria has banned fracking and enshrined it in the state’s constituion. Mining investment confidence in Queensland has plummeted because of slow approvals processes and regulatory uncertainty.

“The truth is, that by 2030, metallurgical coal demand is expected to grow by 24 per cent, and seaborne thermal coal demand is expected to grow by 23.5 per cent. By 2040 LNG demand is set to double.

“We have enormous reserves of minerals such as copper, nickel, bauxite and rare earths that are critical in producing renewable energy components, electric vehicles and batteries.

“There is a long and lucrative future for anyone wanting to work in the resources sector but you wouldn’t know this if you listen to our country’s own Labor politicians.

“The resources industry has a great reputation for operating under stringent environmental standards, providing well-paid, secure employment, and investment in regional communities, and the billions that it supplies to our national budget.

“Resources companies and peak bodies continually advertise the benefits of their work, and the sector is one of the country’s largest private-sector employers of environmental scientists.

“What they really need is strong, positive messaging from their own government. Minister King needs to take responsibility for this task and demand more from her colleagues.”