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Question - to Minister for Industry

 My question is to the Minister for Industry. Will the minister advise the House how the government is working to put the right policy settings in place in order to support and regain competitiveness within our critically important mining sector?


Mr IAN MACFARLANE (GroomMinister for Industry) (14:38): I thank the member the Durack for her question and thank her for the enormous work she does for the resources industry, not only in the state of Western Australia and particularly in the seat of Durack but in fact for all Australia. The member has done a fantastic job in taking over from the previous member, Barry Haase, in bringing mining companies to this place to allow members on the backbench in particular, who may not have a mine in their backyard, to see the importance of mining in Australia.

I recommend to the member for Swan—the member for Lilley, sorry—that he actually reconsider the continuous attack that he placed on the mining industry when he was the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer. There were attacks on individuals and attacks on the industry, an industry which the Acting Prime Minister just pointed out employs around a million people directly and indirectly. It is an industry which kept Mr Swan's budget afloat—as best as any budget under Labor could be kept afloat—by continuing to earn much-needed export income for Australia.

Mr Champion: I surrender, Ian!

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield, far from getting a gold star will soon be in the naughty corner!

Mr IAN MACFARLANE: I am waiting for the member for Charlton, Speaker!

We are facing a challenge in the resources industry at the moment as we transition from the construction of resource projects to the production of resource projects. We need to make sure that that next wave of investment actually happens. We have seen an industry that already pays its fair share of tax. In fact, over the last two years since June 2014 it has raised over—

Mr Conroy: Two years since June 2014?

Mr IAN MACFARLANE: Two years to June 2014 has raised over $40 billion for the Commonwealth coffers.

The reality is that we need to make sure that this sector remains strong. By removing the mining tax we have sent a very clear message to those people looking to invest in Australia, that we are open for business. But, of course, all investments in mines requires exploration.

Mr Conroy: You've still got time!

Mr IAN MACFARLANE: I still have time! The reality is that all good mines start with exploration and that is why this government has put in place a $100 million exploration development incentive, which I launched in the member for O'Connor's electorate, to make sure that we have the exploration that ensures that the mining industry remains strong.

Those opposite treated the mining industry as a cash cow—as an ATM; somewhere to go when they ran out of money. The coalition government wants to make sure that the mining industry actually continues to produce the one thing that is very important, and that is jobs—jobs for all Australians.

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