Statement: Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts supports Mining industry

October 17, 2014

I thank the member for his question and for his interest in this matter. New South Wales is a mining State. This vital industry powers this great State and, unlike those opposite, the Liberal-Nationals Government is committed to supporting this critical industry and the people who work in it. Mining supports more than 22.6 per cent of jobs in the entire Hunter. That is, more than 12,000 direct jobs and almost 60,000 indirect jobs. In 2013 the mining industry injected $6.3 billion into the Hunter, including $1.6 billion into Newcastle alone. More than one-third of the Hunter's gross regional product comes from mining. The Liberal-Nationals Government recognises the enormous contribution mining makes to the Hunter and to the State. Not only does mining provide our energy needs, also the royalties generated from mining pay for our hospitals, schools and roads.
The Liberal-Nationals Government recognises that the coal industry and its workers are going through a tough and difficult time. The Government is committed to real and practical solutions that will secure jobs and our energy needs, and continue to drive the New South Wales economy. On behalf of members on this side of the House, I pay tribute to the men and women of the mining industry who, day in and day out, roll up their sleeves—above ground and below—for the people of New South Wales. Their contribution to the Hunter and to New South Wales should be applauded. Those on this side of the House are grateful for their dedication and contribution to this great State. It is shameful that the same cannot be said for those opposite. We all know the Leader of the Opposition's dangerous and disgraceful plan to shut down the coal industry in the Hunter.
Not only do members on the other side have no regard for the contribution of mining to the State's economy, they could not care less about the thousands of Hunter families and businesses that rely on this industry. For their own self-interest, members opposite—and particularly their leader—would kick them to the kerb in a cheap political stunt. Let us look at their latest plan. The Leader of the Opposition wants to destroy the coal industry and wipe the Hunter off the map. Not only that, he throws up a pie-in-the-sky bridge and an imaginary convention centre to fling in the faces of the hardworking people of the Hunter, thereby sacrificing jobs, hospitals, schools and roads.
The Leader of the Opposition's grand plan is to rip $6 billion from the region's economy and to replace it with a convention centre. He does not even have the money to plan for that, let alone build it. As usual, Labor has thrown up another policy on the run that it cannot see to the end and for which it certainly cannot pay. Labor does not even have the money to draw up the plans. But, as usual, the Leader of the Opposition has come up with a grand plan to cut corners. We all know he is not going to deliver on this convention centre. However, I am a fair man. We have discovered that those opposite have been very busy and have put something to paper. In fact, those policy dynamos opposite have been running their own in-house design competition for the Newcastle convention centre.
I inform the house that they are down to three finalists in the Newcastle convention centre design competition, thanks to some support from The Greens. For the benefit of the people of the Hunter and to save members opposite taking points of order, I am happy to table those final entries because we know that when Labor members hear the words, "Let's draw up policy" out come the crayons. I inform the House that in third place is Comrade Paul Lynch, with his happy snap selfie from that workers' paradise, North Korea. Unfortunately, it has to be an original drawing—you cannot put a photo in—so the judge has ruled that one out. In second place we have The Greens with their broccoli tree house convention centre. It is a healthy idea but—unlike other Greens policy—it is not practical. I dare say it is a genetically modified piece of broccoli. Of course. In first place is the Leader of the Opposition. I have to give him an A for effort—all the colours in the box have been used.
I was not the judge that threw you out of the competition. Do not take it out on me. "Original work only", they said. The vision the Labor Party has for the State and the Hunter is all on those pages; it is nothing. Just like the drawing competition, Labor offers nothing to the people of the Hunter. This is the same old Labor Party: an Opposition Leader who lacks skills, substance and a vision for the Hunter and for this great State of New South Wales.

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