The importance of coal for Australia's manufacturing sector

We have grown rich as a nation on our abundant cheap energy sources in our country, including our coal, our gas and our hydro resources down here in southern Australia. We are very lucky as a nation to have been given these resources and to be able to use them to underpin many industries that provide good, high-paying jobs for average Australians. This is because a cheap energy in this country means we can have dear wages in those industries. Read more

Support for the dairy industry

It is important to listen. But it is even more important that a government acts after listening to those concerns. Having spoken to Senator McKenzie after her roundtable, I know that she did hear from dairy farmers about how waiting times were too long to receive assistance through Centrelink and that sometimes the assets tests and how they were applied were not well suited to the farm sector—that they were more designed for non-farm individuals trying to access assistance. Because of that, the government has acted on those concerns. Read more

The role of the resources sector in Australia's recent record trade surplus

It is a happy moment for this country that we have recorded a record trade surplus on Friday just gone. In the latest statistics we now have a trade surplus of almost $6 billion—$5.8 billion. It has increased by $5.3 billion. It is a record amount. It is the highest amount on record in this nation. $3.2 billion of that $5.3 billion increase was down to an increase in mining and resources exports. So it was something that was driven by the resources sector in some sense. For the mining sector it was also a record amount of mining exports in December 2016 of $16 billion. That is a happy outcome for our nation, too. Read more

The contribution clean coal can make to our energy mix

Often we think about the coal sector in this country as the exports that we provide to the rest of the world, and it is true that around 90 per cent of the coal we produce is exported to other countries. It provides those countries with a low-cost source of power and an ability to make steel, but, of course, it is still an essential part of our own energy mix. It accounts for just over 60 per cent of our electricity sources in this country. On the eastern seaboard, in the National Electricity Market, more than 70 per cent of our electricity is generated by coal. We need coal to keep the lights on in this country. We need coal to make sure that we can provide cheap, affordable and reliable power to our manufacturing sector. We need coal to help those jobs. Read more

Support for Dairy Farmers

There are many in the industry who are doing it very tough at the moment given the global price environment and the decisions made by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra recently to retrospectively cut farmgate milk prices. Those decisions made by Fonterra and Murray Goulburn are decisions that the government are concerned about, and that is why we have acted quickly in response to them. We have listened to the concerns of dairy farmers, holding a number of meetings in the last few months, and during the election campaign we announced a $579 million dairy assistance support package. Read more

Queensland: Meat Industry

This motion proposed by Senator Lazarus should be opposed. The motion would spread unnecessary uncertainty in our cattle industry and in particular our northern cattle industry. His motion implies that free trade agreements and also the live cattle trade itself could cause job losses. The logical end point of this motion and if the Senate supported it would be to ban or restrict exports of live cattle in favour of processing in Australia. We saw how disastrous this was in 2011 for our entire industry. Read more

Recognition of Foreign Marriages Bill 2014

It is an appreciated opportunity to make a contribution to this debate on the Recognition of Foreign Marriages Bill 2014, a private senator's bill brought forward by the Greens party. I was listening to Senator Siewert's speech, and often when this issue comes up members of the Greens party in this place show little respect for other people's views.  Read more

Northern Australia Job Creation

Senator Canavan: My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs representing the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia. Will the minister update the Senate on its signature Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility? How will this create jobs and growth in my state of Queensland and right across Northern Australia? Read more

Adani Coal Mine

Today, I would like to give praise to a decision made yesterday by the Queensland Labor government. It is not common, obviously, to give praise to other political parties, but I think it is worthwhile to give credit where credit is due. Yesterday, the Queensland government issued an environmental authority for the Adani Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee Basin. That is good news for Central and North Queensland, because these areas desperately need jobs and investment projects to get going. Read more

Education Funding

I too took my kids to school last week as Senator Dastyari did. I share his comments in commending the incredible commitment of the teachers and principal at my children's school, St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in Yeppoon. It is a wonderful school, and they do a great job.  Read more


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