29/10/2019 - 15:19

Labor backs mining industry

29/10/2019 - 15:19

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has used a speech in Perth to defend the importance of the mining industry, saying the market should be allowed to determine which projects, including in the coal sector, are able to proceed.

Labor backs mining industry

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has used a speech in Perth to defend the importance of the mining industry, saying the market should be allowed to determine which projects, including in the coal sector, are able to proceed.

Responding to a question from Business News columnist Peter Kennedy about the future of coal, Mr Albanese said there was a global shift away from fossil fuels but the future of specific projects would be determined by international markets.

“We can’t be in a circumstance whereby all mining is the same and is somehow bad,” he said.

“It worries me that it’s just: mining is bad.

“Mining has produced our advanced economies.”

Mr Albanese said metallurgical coal, used in the manufacture of steel, would continue to play a role while the demand for thermal coal, used in power generation, was largely up to markets.

“Will there be a new thermal coal power plan built in Australia? No, I don’t think there will, but that’s not a decision of government, the market is making that decision,” he said.

He also talked up the lithium sector as an example of mining creating jobs, including in downstream manufacturing.

Mr Albanese’s appearance at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event was his first major policy speech as opposition leader.

In a wide-ranging address, he claimed Labor would lead a shift towards clean energy that would simultaneously support a boom in manufacturing.

“The world is decarbonising,” Mr Albanese said.

“With the right planning and vision, Australia can not only continue to be an energy exporting superpower, we can also enjoy a new manufacturing boom. This means jobs.

“Working towards a low-carbon future provides the opportunity to revitalise the Australian manufacturing sector – opportunities that are all about jobs.”

One of his few specific commitments was to create a new planning agency named Jobs and Skills Australia targeting skills and workforce shortages.

"I am determined to circuit-break the crisis in training and vocational education," he said.

The agency would be established with legislation and in partnership with large and small business leaders, unions, regional experts and federal, state and territory governments.

Mr Albanese wants it to be data-driven, working with labour market technology from professional websites Seek and LinkedIn.

He said the new agency would have a similar model to Infrastructure Australia, which he established as minister in 2008.

"A collaborative model to guide investment in human capital, just as Infrastructure Australia guides investment in physical capital," Mr Albanese said

He said Jobs and Skills Australia would form the basis of a new compact.

"It will work with business and unions to harness insights from industry to ensure that training is meeting not just today's needs but to anticipate how work is changing," Mr Albanese said.

Labor planned to look at reforms to address job insecurity and uncertainty for workers, the opposition leader said.

"It is time to have a conversation about new forms of worker protections, which can be made as flexible as the gig economy jobs they could cover, as well as benefit more traditional industries," Mr Albanese said.

"Ideas like portable entitlements."

Labor also plans to hold a 'creative economy' summit in the first half of 2020 bringing together people from design, production and the visual arts.

The opposition leader also recommitted to its policy of establishing a national centre to drive investment in artificial intelligence.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options