PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much, Paul. It’s great to be here with you. It’s great to be here with all of my colleagues, but can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners and thank you, Rob, for that wonderful welcome to country. Can I acknowledge the Whadjuk Nyoongar people and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. And as we head towards ANZAC Day – not too long now – I also, as I always do, want to pay tribute to our veterans or members of the Australian Defence Force who are with us today. And say, thank you to what you have done for our country. I know within the resources sector there are a large number of Australian ex-servicemen and women who have gone and joined the resources sector and provide great leadership within the resources sector – strengthening the culture and values of the resource companies across our nation.
I’m pleased to say that I’m joined by many members of our team. Senator Michaelia Cash, our standard bearer and leader of our parliamentary team here in the West. And it’s great to be here with you MC. Bridget Mackenzie, who is here today. It’s great to have you here Bridge from the other side of the country joining me, here today. And I know you are a passionate advocate for regional Australia and there’s a lot of regional Australia in Western Australia. So it’s tremendous to have you here with us in the West. Keith Pitt who’s here all the way up there from Bundaberg, and here he is over here in Perth. Keith has been an extraordinary advocate for the resources sector in our Government. And he does so not just from a position of passion, he does it from a position of knowledge and experience. And it’s great to have someone who knows the details of the sector and can really lead policy development in the portfolio. You are very well served, as I am, by having Keith as our Minister for Resources and Water. Melissa Price who’s been transforming our defence industry. I was with Melissa yesterday. We were out announcing $120 million extra for the Cape Class, extended Cape Class vessels out there at Henderson – an incredibly exciting project for Western Australian. $4.3 billion we’re spending out there at Henderson to build up to that amount for the dry dock. It is going to be a really big part of not just our naval shipbuilding capabilities in Australia, the sovereign capacity, but also a real driver. We are not just building ships out there, we’re building a workforce. We’re building a workforce. I met some of the apprentices yesterday, for many, the skills that are being developed, just like they are in the resources industry, so they are in our defence industry and well done. Ben Morton, yes, a great counsel on all things Western Australia, and I particularly commend Ben for the work that he’s done on the Western Australian Plan that we are releasing today – a comprehensive plan for Western Australia. And Stuart Robert is also here, the Minister for Employment, Small and Family Business, and many other things, in fact the Education Minister as well. Great to have Stuey here from Queensland with us. There’s a lot of commonality in between Queensland and Western Australia. Both important resource states. A lot at stake for the resources sector and I’m not surprised that you want to be here this morning at the Chamber because you know how important that the resources sector is for jobs and skills development, for the future of our economy.
There’s probably no more important setting, other than actually standing out in Kal or somewhere like that where I had the good fortune not too long ago, they even let me get in the digger. There was a lot of very jealous senior executives on that day because they won’t even let them in the cockpit of one of those things. So it is tremendous to join the (inaudible) at Kalgoorlie very recently, but there were many mines that I’ve visited. So if I can’t be there this morning, I can think of no better place I’d want to be to be talking about the future of our resources industry. And because a stronger resources sector is critical to Australia’s national economic plan, and there is no more important place to talk about that than here in Western Australia. Because Western Australia is so significant to our national economy, the minerals and energy riches of Western Australia have long played and continue to play an absolutely central role in generating the export income and sustaining the living standards of all Australians. As the Chamber’s own work shows – and you all seem to have been modest about it – WA resources made a direct contribution to Australia’s economy in 2020-21 of at least $100 billion. At least $100 billion. And that’s a conservative estimate based on just a sample of the members represented here today. And I’m reminded of something the Reserve Bank Governor, Phil Lowe, said a few years ago when he talked about the chain that links the income generated by the mining industry in the Pilbara and in Queensland, with increases in spending in cafes and restaurants in Melbourne and in Sydney. This chain, he said, can be hard to see, but it is real and it is one of the core underpinnings of our prosperity as a country. The resources sector has continued to power the Australian economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m very grateful for, and I appreciate the comments that you’ve made about Mark and I. Mark and I, the Premier I should say, worked very closely together through that period of time. And we both understood how critical it was that the mining sector here in WA could continue to operate and continue to perform for the national wellbeing. You kept going safely in that great spirit of Australian resilience and enterprise. And I would say and see that great Western Australian spirit of enterprise and resilience. Our Government never takes this for granted. I never take it for granted.
I want to talk about the five themes of our resources plan today. And I particularly want to thank Keith for all of his work in pulling us together today, working together as a team. Australia’s business-led recovery is leading the world. That doesn’t mean that everything right now is, as we have it to be. It doesn’t mean that businesses, or particularly families and households and individuals are not still dealing with difficult economic pressures. That is true. And we are aware of that. But it is also true that Australia is leading the advanced economic world out of this pandemic. Employment has surged past pre-COVID levels ahead of all major advanced economies. A recovery that has driven the biggest Budget turnaround in 70 years. $103 billion the Treasurer was able to announce on Budget night since last year’s estimates alone. That shows you that our economic plan is working and why it’s the right economic plan to keep Australia’s economy strong in the future.
The resources sector has been and remains central to our economic plan that has lead us through this crisis, and this is a good thing. It’s setting up opportunities for our future, the likes of which we have not seen in this country since the post-war period. Having come through these incredibly difficult times, and they have been tough, they have been extraordinarily tough. But having pushed through as a country and shown that resilience and sticking together and getting the big decisions right – the opportunities now for our country are significant. So a strong economy has never been more important. A strong economy means a stronger future. That’s what we’ve worked so hard over these last few years to ensure that we have a strong economy coming out of this pandemic. And this morning I want to outline our comprehensive resources plan and the steps we are taking to build an even stronger resources sector as part of our national economic plan.
Now there are five themes.
First of those is we’re backing, pardon me, our traditional strengths. From iron ore and coal to gas and coal. Backing in our traditional strengths. Secondly, growing our emerging advantage in critical minerals. Thirdly, investing in mining regions to support future growth. Fourth, investing in what we call Stuey, frontier skills. The skills we need out on that frontier to ensure that we can seize these opportunities, but not just those skills, the research and the technologies that back in those skilled Australians that are seizing these opportunities. And fifthly, securing our future resource pipeline.
But to background first, geopolitically and economically, we have entered a period of renewed tension and turbulence in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On top of the economic fallout from the global pandemic, we now face the biggest energy and commodity price shocks since the oil shock of the early 1970s. Critical shortages in energy and now in some bulk commodities and industrial metals have led to widespread increases in prices in recent months. Now, while, pardon me, while the economic consequences of Russia’s war of aggression are still playing out, sanctions applied to Russia are affecting commodity supply chains. Further sanctions are in prospect. Russia must pay the price for their unlawful violence. The commodity market dislocation and supply chain stress have pushed up inflation around the world, and Australia is not immune from those pressures. Pressures that undermine why now, more than ever, we need a government that knows what it’s doing, especially on the economy. You need a government that understands our economy. It’s many moving parts, that understands what has happened in our labour market over these last few years and how Australia’s labour force has grown. We now have more people of working age in jobs – 77 per cent – than at any other time in Australia’s economic history. Now, if you don’t know that, you don’t know what’s going on in the Australian economy, and you don’t know the transformation that has taken place. You haven’t observed and understood what businesses and employees and people gaining skills and going out there and getting through a pandemic and pushing through and investing in plant and equipment – you don’t know that. A government that recognises the pressures on businesses, whether it be finding skilled workers, and that’s tough. Dealing with complex regulation, red tape, green tape, or indeed responding to these supply chain challenges. We’re a government that gets that. We’re a government that understands how to manage the Budget and retain a AAA credit rating – one of only nine countries in the world to do so. And we didn’t do it during a time of plain sailing and calm seas. We did it through the biggest global recession we’ve seen in many a year. And in Australia, going back to the Great Depression. We did it during an economic crisis that was 30 times worse than the Global Financial Crisis. But it achieved employment outcomes that were 50 per cent better than what Labor was able to do when they dealt with the GFC. We have a strong plan for the economy. We have an economic plan. And we know how to keep the lid on taxes. I put the lid on taxes. It is part of the Budget fiscal plan – 23.9 per cent. You can’t go above it. You’ve seen revenues rise because of the growing economy, and you see you’re going to hit that mark, what that cap does is, it says stop. Readjust your taxes. Think about how you are spending. It is there as a brake on governments to not tax you more, and it’s there to protect the economy from higher taxes. And this is why, for the life of me, I can’t understand why the Labor Party want to get rid of that break on taxes. You would only want to get rid of the limit on taxes if you wanted to exceed. So that’s why I can say confidently to you, having put the tax cap on, having put the speed limit on taxes, as someone who’s always believed in lower taxes, and Australians being able to keep more of what they earn – that should we be successful in the forthcoming election, I can assure you there will be no mining tax. There will be no carbon tax. And there will be no adverse changes to fuel tax credit arrangements either, because I think all of those things are bad for the economy. But I know the Labor Party supported them in the past. See at this election, I’m standing for the things I’ve always stood for. My team is standing for the things they have always stood for. In Western Australia and especially in the resources sector, you know that alongside any challenges, there are massive opportunities. And it’s that kind of place. It’s why I love it here so much. And that’s what our government believes we have to do to secure those opportunities. So back to the plan.
First, backing our traditional resource strengths. Based on the strong performance of industry pillars like iron ore and coal, gas, resource exports are expected to reach $425 billion this financial year. That’s almost two thirds of Australia’s forecast exports of goods and services. Western Australia’s resource industry alone accounted for almost two thirds of the nation’s total resource exports last financial year and more than 50 per cent of the country’s total goods. Against Europe reminds us starkly the importance of energy security to our national economic resilience and why it would be reckless in the extreme for Australia to relinquish our traditional energy advantage in gas and coal. That’s not a new view of mine. I’ve always had that view. Even if we invest now in significantly lowering emissions and clean energy technology in coming decades, we can do both, and are. The world wants our energy resources now more than ever. A returned Coalition Government will continue to ensure Australia remains a reliable, stable, competitive supplier, just as we will be a reliable supplier of iron ore, base metals and other resource commodities. We’re not shy about it. Our government has a strong plan to develop and diversify our resources sector in a way that strengthens our economy, delivers those high skill, high wage jobs, lowers emissions. Our resources sector is leading the world in reducing emissions, setting the way and supporting vibrant communities right across the country. And we’ll continue to back your industry through stable tax arrangements, improve regulatory settings, cutting red and green tape and policies that seek out new opportunities from exploration through to downstream processing and market access agreements. Here in WA, there are $127 billion of projects in the resources pipeline, and mining investment is on the way up. And we continue to see enormous dynamism in the sector as it continues to, evolve and improve, not just in the business of mining, also in the industry that does work with traditional owners. It’s not just the business of improving safety in the workplace, investing in skills and training, securing more opportunities for women, investing in local communities. Investing in our Indigenous communities. This is what you do. We’re incredibly proud of our resources industry in this country. Incredibly proud. And when I think of your priorities, I look at our plan for resources, and what strikes me most is the many points of intersection that occur through all of these areas. All the other things we’re trying to do across our economy, the resources sector, is making a contribution in all of these areas.
The second area is securing emerging resource advantages. And so while we’re backing our traditional strengths, we’re also determined to grow Australia as a critical minerals powerhouse. We have some of the world’s largest recoverable resources of critical minerals, including cobalt, lithium, manganese, tungsten and vanadium. The global drive towards cleaner energy is supporting (inaudible) demand for these critical minerals and for rare earth elements. It’s estimated that producing, exporting these minerals could create up to 52,000 jobs by 2050 in regions like Southern Western Australia, the Pilbara and South Australia. And so we’re all in when it comes to building a pipeline of quality critical minerals projects to grow Australia’s role in global supply chains. We’re all in – our 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy, which was launched by Kevin Pitt last month, sets out to grow our critical minerals sector, expand downstream processing and help meet future global demand. Our $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility is geared to provide large scale debt finance to advance projects that are ready to commence construction. Our Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative, expanded at Budget to total some $400 million, is supporting early and mid-stage projects that build sovereign capability in Australia, helping projects overcome technical and market barriers and supporting feasibility studies and design work. So more projects get to the point of being finance ready. And then we can sit back and let you do what you do well. Make them an enormous success. But we’re all working together to get us to the starting line of these projects. We will do our bit. You’re doing your bit.
So I’m pleased to announce today two new investments, here in WA, under this initiative. We’ll invest $4 million at the Greenbushes lithium plant run by Global Advanced Metals as part of a project to increase Australia’s production of tantalum, a mineral recognised as critical to defence, energy, high-tech industrial and medical sectors. With industry co-investment of $15.3 million in the project. This will make Australia an integral part of critical supply chains. Secondly, we’ll invest $3.9 million to accelerate the commercialisation of battery grade graphite working with Mineral Commodities Ltd. This will see the creation of a new business centred on Munglinup Graphite Mineral Resources, with co-investment of some $53.8 million and collaboration with the CSIRO. This is a partnership. This is not a resources sector just coming and the government saying fund them. Nuh. You’re are all in. We’re all in. Our scientists are all in. And this is in addition to other elements of our Critical Minerals Strategy, including our $50 million investment to establish a virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Centre hosted by the CSIRO and our network of international partnerships on critical minerals. Now, what defines our economic plan is that it’s an integrated plan, many elements that are all pointing in the one direction and reinforcing each other. And this morning, I also want to make an important announcement that ties together our Critical Minerals Strategy, our national manufacturing priorities and our $2.2 billion university research commercialisation plan and our $2 billion Regional Accelerator Program announced in the Budget. Our research commercialisation plan brings universities and industry together to develop the next generation of Australian companies and products. One of the signature elements is our $362 million investment in Trailblazer Universities. Now, as my colleagues know, I am wildly passionate about these Trailblazer Universities. They are going to change the game in university research, commercialisation and partnership with industry in this country and set the standard for all others to follow. Universities that are challenging themselves in changing the way they work. To ramp up collaboration with industry, large and small, with businesses alike. This isn’t about funnelling money into the same strategies, not at all. It’s about doing things differently so we can create a new generation of what we call research entrepreneurs. Two words we don’t see enough together in our universities. Changing IP practices, sharpening incentives for collaboration, more people working across university faculties and businesses, all sharing in the success and all motivated by the opportunity for success. So I’m pleased to announce today that our first Trailblazing University will be blazing a trail right here at Curtin University, here in the west. Curtin will become our resources technology, the Critical Minerals Trailblazer. Working with the University of Queensland and James Cook University right across the country, bringing our two big mining states together. This initiative will bring together 33 industry partners – that’s roughly half of them being SMEs to capitalise on our critical minerals resource competitive advantage. Alongside $50 million of investment from our government. The Trailblazer will leverage co-investment of $144 million from university and industry partners. That’s how you do it. That’s the plan, and I’m so overwhelmed with the response we’ve had in the collaboration. I know Stuart has been bringing this to fruition and ensuring that they’ve been able to bring these partnerships together. And it’s great to see a number of industry partners who are part of this investment right here: Woodside, BHP, Rio Tinto, Lynas, Pilbara Minerals and Mineral Resources. The Trailblazer will help secure supply chains as well as build standard mining careers in the Pilbara, Wheatbelt, Goldfields regions of Western Australia and support the Pilbara and Geraldton university campus centres. Indeed, it is estimated that this project will see 1,300 new jobs created over the next 10 years and around $40 million of investment in regional Australia, which I know Richard will be thrilled to bits about, as will Melissa.
Thirdly, we’re going to keep investing in mining regions. No Australian Government has invested more in our regions than our Coalition Government. No-one. With last month’s Budget building on the more than $100 billion of investment since 2013. And now we’re undertaking nation shaping transformational investments that will ensure our regions remain powerhouses of our nation. Securing the future of great mining regions like the Hunter in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Central and North Queensland, and of course, the Pilbara here in mighty WA. Australians in our capital cities have long been the beneficiaries of visionary investments to develop the Pilbara, going back more than 50 years. It’s the world’s greatest mining region, generating over $70 billion annually for our economy. It’s been home to what I believe have been Australia’s greatest entrepreneurs. Home grown here in WA. We want to ensure that the future of the Pilbara remains one of promise and opportunity as it has always been driving us forward in a future global economy. The foundations are all there. Skilled workforce, existing industrial base, bulk export infrastructure, energy, water and a natural deep anchorage harbour at Port Hedland. Under our plan announced in the Budget, we will invest $1.5 billion to diversify and grow the Pilbara in the decade to come. Establishing it as a major hub for low emissions industries and opening up the north west for future development. This is part of a $7.1 billion commitment over 11 years under these new transformational frontier regional programs. It’s exciting stuff. It is really exciting stuff. Barnaby always says this, all that stuff coming in on boats, that we put in our homes; televisions, mobile phones, all this, to pay for it, there’s got to be stuff going out on boats. And most of that is coming from our resources sector by value, but also, of course, from the agricultural sector, our primary industry sectors. And we get that as a government, we need to further unlock the wealth of our regions and to do that, you need catalytic transformational investments to take our regional game to the whole next level. You can’t still be here and (inaudible) there. You know, you spread it out, you gotta back those transformational investments that unlock the wealth. It pays for the hospitals, it pays for the schools, it pays for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, that pays for the pensions, pays for Medicare, all $31.4 billion of it. You have got to have that stuff going back out there on boats. Our focus in the Pilbara includes port upgrades to increase export capacity, including for hydrogen, low emissions metals manufacturing and iron ore production, and upgrades to the region’s power grid and road infrastructure. Separately, pardon me, the Government has also committed more than $1.5 billion to a future hydrogen industry in Australia. And so I’m pleased to announce today that as part of our Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program, our government will invest a total of $140 million in two WA hydrogen hubs. These hubs focus on regions where producers, users and potential exporters of hydrogen are co-located. It’s an ecosystem. We will invest $70 million in the Pilbara Hydrogen Hub, joining with the WA Government on a range of local and international partners. And we’ll invest a further $70 billion in the H2Kwinana clean energy Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub, led by BP Australia and Macquarie Corporate Holdings. And as part of our technology focussed plan to reduce emissions, the Government is also investing $300 million over the next 10 years in carbon capture and storage hubs and projects. We believe in carbon capture projects. We really do. We want to actually change the legislation to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and others to invest in, but Labor said no. They refused to do it.
Today I announce that our government would commit $40 million towards pre-Final Investment Decision activities as part of Woodside’s Energy Burrup Hub. And it’s great of course, to have met here today. If this project achieves FID, it will drive $800 million in investment and reduce emissions by five million tonnes per year from 2028. That’s how you get to net zero by 2050 – with real plans, not rhetoric. We will also commit $20 million to Mitsui midwest’s CCS Hub. And if this project achieves FID, it will drive more than $200 million of investment and reduce emissions by 2.4 million tonnes per year from 2025. And together, these projects create around 2,000 jobs – it’s estimated. All these investments in critical minerals, hydrogen, CCS and other economic infrastructure are all about ensuring we sustain high-wage jobs and investment in the Australian resources industry well into the future with detailed, specific, credible plans that we’ve thought through that we’ve worked together with industry. We’ve worked together with the scientific and research community. That’s what a real plan looks like. That’s how we sustain our advantage in traditional resource industries at the same time as creating new industries and jobs in the sector for the future. So our great resource regions continue to power our community.
Then fourthly we’re bolstering our frontier skills, research and technologies. We know as a government that your industry relies on World-Class skills, research and technology. In fact, we lead the world in it. This, the global pandemic and the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression, our government has learnt and lent in stronger, not just to support our skills pipeline research in Australia, but also to drive change. This financial year, we’re investing a record $7.8 billion to keep apprentices in jobs and help Australians reskill and upskill. We’re reforming the VET sector. We’re ensuring greater transparency. We’re pursuing industry led reforms. We’re ensuring Australians have the skills they need through an additional $3.7 billion to support 800,000 new training positions, and we’re committed to having a better national skills agreement with the states and territories. I’m happy to invest more in skills. I want to invest more in skills as a Commonwealth Government. Stuart Robert wants to do that too. My whole team does. We are desperate to invest more in skills, but we’re not going to throw good money after bad. We’re not going to keep allowing a system that is not delivering on the skills needs of business and the young people, the middle aged people, the people skills transitioning in the 50s, in their 60s, that is not delivering for them. We are, in the Budget, set out over $3 billion ready to invest. But we’ve got to fix the system and we’ve got to make it work better. We’ve got to make it more responsive. We’ve got to ensure the credentialing and the qualifications are up to speed – and keep pace with the best competitors we have in the world. We can’t sit back and run an old system based on old rules for an old economy. We have to revamp how we deliver training in this country, and I’m committed to do that with the states and territories. But I’m not going to settle for a bad system. We’re not going to be an ATM on this. We want to ensure that the programs work better and we will turn up to invest heavily if people are willing to invest in making the skills system work better for the students that are seeking the training and those who will employ them. Our skills reforms are fundamentally about making sure industry has greater input into the skills and training system. Because that’s what’s good for the person doing the training as well, because it means they get a job and they can do the job. Working with the mining industry, our government established the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot to secure more apprenticeships. I know a number of CME members have made their own commitments during the pandemic to employ and retain apprentices and trainees, and I thank you for that. In WA there’s some 22 per cent of trainees and apprentices also I know are Indigenous employees. And that is tremendous, life changing.
And finally cutting red and green tape by streamlining regulation, something that Ben Morton is totally focussed on. As part of our economic plan if re-elected next month, we will continue to cut that red tape. We will continue to lower regulation and compliance costs and make it easier for businesses to invest and create jobs. Since 2019, under Ben’s leadership, the Government’s Deregulation Agenda has driven reforms that are expected to generate benefits in excess of some $21 billion over the next 10 years, just making things that little bit easier. Simplifying trade systems so Australia’s exporters and importers save time and money, making it easier for licenced workers to work across state borders. Making it easier for 180 resource entities to interact with NOPSEMA our offshore oil and gas regulator, by digitising processes and using technology to support remote inspections. It is really detailed stuff. That’s what good government is. You’re across the detail. You’re into the detail. You’re actually doing the stuff (Inaudible). You get it. You understand how all the cogs work together. This practical agenda, in a sense, strongly with our ambition to be a top 10 data and digital economy by 2030, a key part of our broader national plan. And here again, your industry is just out there leading. CME’s Digital Technologies Program has taken school students in the Pilbara into the work of coding and mine automation with ambitions to expand to schools right across Western Australia. Well done, Evro. Our budget provided significant funding to streamline the assessment and decision making processes under the EPBC Act, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, while ensuring strong and vital environmental standards. We’re also modernising the environmental offsets policy, while strengthening our knowledge base for protected plants and animals, and we’ve been able to achieve all of that and everything we would like to achieve. But there is still more we’d like to do, and we’ve been frustrated. Let me explain why, because it’s important as we go into this election. Cutting green tape is not about removing protections for the environment. You all agree with that. It’s about getting rid of unnecessary delays that cost time, money and jobs and preventing projects that should proceed from proceeding. These delays present themselves as unnecessary duplication of processes and approvals between the Commonwealth and the states. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it’s something Mark McGowan and I agree completely on. And not just me and Mark. I was able to get the agreement of every single Premier and Chief Minister in the country that this had to be fixed. State Labor governments, State Liberal governments. This had to be fixed. The intention over 20 years ago, the EPBC Act has provided a framework for bilateral approval between the Commonwealth and the states to reduce unnecessary duplication. However, some small legislative amendments are needed to make the agreements robust and legally durable. Now, under the framework of National Cabinet, as I said Mark and I, and the rest of the Premiers recognise this and we agree to reform the program. And in 2019, Premier McGowan said that entering into bilateral approval agreements would slash approval times for major projects and unleash WA jobs. And he’s right. I agree with him that this plan, he said, ensures we maintain the highest environmental standards but don’t get bogged down in bureaucracy. Well, said Mark. With the support of the CME, Premier McGowan and I worked with colleagues to reform that process and secure what I call a single touch model for environmental approvals. We introduced and sought to pass that legislation through the Federal Parliament to achieve this reform. So Anthony Albanese and Labor had a choice. They could support sensible reforms, supported by every Premier and Chief Minister in the country, including Labor Premiers in the two big resource states of Queensland and Western Australia, but also Premier Andrews in Victoria. Instead, they said, no. We’re going to side with the Greens and they did. And they chose to block those reforms. Don’t kid yourselves about this. Federal Labor under Anthony Albanese is not the same as State Labor under Mark McGowan. They are two completely different things. They have very little in common, especially when it comes to these important economic issues that are important to the future of Western Australia. So if re-elected, I’m going back there. We will re-introduce that legislation to facilitate single touch approvals, allowing us to enter into bilateral approval agreements with willing states like Western Australia. The Labor Party are opposed it at a Federal level. We are have for it. Always have been. Our renewed Deregulation Agenda is all about making sure your interactions with government are simpler, more streamlined so you can deliver the investments and the jobs that we know you can because on average, mining jobs pay more than one and a half times the national average wage. If you want to see wages rise in this country? Back the resources sector. Stop getting in its way, Mr Albanese. We wanna do that. That’s a real plan to lift incomes in this country.
Our industrial relations laws should not be an impediment to creation of good, high wage jobs. In the last Parliament, our government held detailed consultations, including with those in this room I’m sure. Employee groups, unions on ways that practically could just improve the operation of IR system. It wasn’t some ideological-fest on industrial relations. Quite the contrary, they were just practical discussions about how the system could work better. As Prime Minister, I’ve been crystal clear and consistent about the criteria our government uses to assess our current system.
Any changes needed to drive jobs, boost wages, boost productivity, strengthen the economy and ensure protection of employee rights – I’m there. Our goal is to secure shared gains for employers and workers, and we believe in shared gains. You believe in shared gains. That’s how you run your businesses, people working together to create something bigger and sharing the benefits. Not a zero sum mindset so many have brought to the industrial relations in the past and the Labor Party, at a federal level, continues to hang on to it. They would prefer to have the fight over industrial relations than get the outcomes for workers and employers to create more jobs and have better wages. One area where there remains clear scope the share gains in relation to greenfields rates. We are in agreement on a new (inaudible), a new business activity is secured prior to employment commitments and nobody has been working on the site. There are no existing things that people have been getting on that site, doesn’t exist and currently under the Fair Work Work Act, such agreements can only be made for a maximum of four years, and it’s long been recognised that this could be a barrier to investment decisions on major projects that take longer than four years to construct. Not least in the resources sector. Prior to the last election Bill Shorten here in Perth signalled Labor’s support for reform in this area. He said this – if we want to look at the ability for companies to negotiate with unions for extending greenfields agreements project life, you can go to the global investors who will back it, that will be good paying jobs. As Mr Shorten recognised the need to renegotiate within a four year timeframe could invite investment, delay disruption and even project project cancellation with negative impacts on jobs and the economy. The Productivity Commission estimates that a one year delay for a gas project, for example, could cost in the order of 10 per cent of its net present value. So reform of these provisions can provide greater certainty in investment decision point of new projects – far from putting jobs at risk it’s about creating jobs and higher wages. That’s how you get wages up by ensuring that we can put projects on the ground and put people into work, ensuring they can get access to high paying jobs. According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, at the end of October 2021, there were 160 energy resource projects at feasibility stage in Australia. So I said earlier with $243 million. So that provides an opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs, both in construction and ongoing operation phases of those projects. Now we’re talking here about creating jobs to pay over $90,000 a year in mining jobs, maybe more than $138,000 a year. So we the Coalition will introduce legislation to extend the maximum term of greenfields agreements for four years to six years. Bill Shorten seems to agree with it. Anthony Albanese? Well, once again standing in the way of jobs and higher wages. (Inaudible), for this longer time frame of reference, will be required to have guaranteed year on year pay rises, which at least matched the Fair Work Commission annual wage review. And this new six year time frame would apply only to major projects larger than $500 million, and this would be a stand-alone reform. We believe this sensible change should be treated on its merits. Other greenfield arrangement provisions would remain unchanged. These agreements are customary made with unions, noting the current law, where agreement cannot be reached within six months of the agreement and be approved directly by the Fair Work Commission. In the wake of earlier consultations, I believe is a sensible way forward. Incremental reform that is achievable, that will make a difference. So it is a test for Mr Albanese and Labor Federal Labor. (Inaudible) going on about an economic reform pretending to be everybody from Paul Keating, John Howard and even Mark Latham recently. For all that. Who is he when it comes to these issues? Simple truth is that he’s been all over the shop on this, all over the shop when it comes to the resource industry. He has flip flopped on every single thing. He supported everything he’s opposed and now he’s opposed everything he has supported. That’s why people are confused about this guy. It certainly won’t be easy under Me Albanese, especially if your job depends on our resources industry here in Western Australia. So ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your patience. But as you can see, we’ve got a lot of passion in this space. And we’ve even more importantly, we’ve got a lot of detail credible, far sighted, well-thought-through policy that we know to continue to back in the resources industry here in Australia because we know that is important to the income of every single Australian in this country. Australia is one of the world’s great resource nations. We lead the way and here in WA you lead the way – generations of visionaries and entrepreneurs built one of the world’s most advanced, successful resource sectors. This is an enormous source of strength and prosperity, security, that all Australians have benefited from over many, many, many decades. And our government has a plan to ensure that we keep the resources stable strong now and in the future. Now is not the time. It’s not time to risk our $2.1 trillion economy with someone who doesn’t understand their economy, does not understand the resources sector. They will not have a plan for it and who will not stand up to the Greens, as he has not done over the course of the last Parliament as leader of the Labor Party. And you know what the Greens want to do? They want to shut you down. So if our government is returned at this election, look forward to working with all of you. So we can continue to build the growth and prosperity of the nation, because our nation depends on your success. And I get it, and I thank you.