Embracing the Opportunity of Change

Share This

Speeches

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021

Embracing the Opportunity of Change

Speech at the Australian 2021 Minerals Week Launch.

Introduction

Today I want to talk to you about change and opportunity.
 
We all know that change is a constant in life.
 
But what we need to recognise is that while change can be confronting, it also brings opportunities.
 
Consider your own sector.
 
Our nation’s top five resources exports are iron ore, LNG, gold, metallurgical coal and thermal coal. We are the world’s top exporter of iron ore, gold and metallurgical coal, joint top exporter of LNG and the second top exporter of thermal coal.
 
These industries provide jobs for Australians. They provide economic activity in regional Australia. And billions of dollars of revenue for governments.
 
Australia will continue to export these commodities.
 
But as everyone here knows, markets change.
 
As the world moves to a low-carbon future, demand for some resources will decline. But there will be strong demand for other resources, particularly those needed for growth sectors like electric vehicles and batteries.
 
That means there is a very bright future for exports in areas like aluminium, lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel and rare earths.
 
Just as there is a bright future for solar and wind power, given our nation has abundant supplies of both.
 
Opportunities abound. But what we lack is a Government prepared to collaborate with industry to exploit these opportunities.
 
That’s what good governments do. They provide leadership to shape change in the interests of businesses and workers.
 
They support markets as the best mechanism to direct investment with appropriate regulation.
 
That is the kind of Labor Government I will lead if am honoured to become the next Prime Minister of Australia.

 

The Coalition

By contrast, Scott Morrison leads a Liberal-National Government determined to pretend change is not happening.
 
This is a Prime Minister who two years ago ridiculed electric cars and said their use would destroy the weekend. Then, a few months ago, denied he ever said that.
 
A man leading a Government intervening to invest in projects which the private sector has dismissed as unviable.
 
A Government which defied expert advice to waste $4 million on a feasibility study for a coal-fired power station at Collinsville, a project no-one thinks will eventuate.
 
Early last month, the board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility recommended investment in a windfarm south of Cairns that would have created 250 jobs and helped reduce power prices.
 
But Resources Minister Keith Pitt vetoed the plan, leaving the Labor Government in Queensland to step in to fill the gap.
 
This approach makes no sense.
 
Our $20 billion Rewiring the Nation plan will fix transmission, consistent with the recommendations from the Australian Energy Market Operator and its Integrated Systems Plan.
 
This is low-hanging fruit. It will make an enormous contribution to lowering energy prices and will boost manufacturing.
 
This Government is distorting investment decisions while undermining job-creating ventures that will lower power prices.
 
Just as they trashed the fibre-to-the-premise National Broadband Network, replacing it with a copper-based alternative before last year finally acknowledging the error and beginning to retrofit with fibre at increased cost.
 
Then there is the multi-billion-dollar Inland Rail project linking Brisbane and Melbourne. It doesn’t even go to the Port of Brisbane. The route is not finalised. Costs have blown out.
 
They’ve had eight long years to get it right but they aren’t up to it.
 
After three terms there is no legacy of economic reform.
 
Indeed, the Budget provided for lower wages, low growth, low productivity and lower workforce participation. What a quadrella.
 
And as you know, they have failed in 22 attempts to create an energy policy to give certainty to industry and the investment community.
 
Their Budget includes $100 billion of new spending, yet no plan for growth.
 
No path to pay back the $1 trillion debt. This budget is a debt sentence for Australia.
 
There is another serious problem with this Government that must be of real concern to members of the Minerals Council and other exporters.

Scott Morrison has no long-term strategy to deal with a changing China that is pressing its interests more assertively, while finding areas of potential co-operation, including on trade, that are in both out countries’ interests.

Mr Morrison is making the grave error of prioritising his domestic political interests over Australia’s national interests.

Australian needs more strategy and less politics when it comes to managing our differences with China.

Recent comments from Peter Dutton and a senior official about the prospect of war might well inflame nationalistic sentiments and secure a grab the six o’clock news.

But foreign policy is not a game. It’s not a photo op. It’s a serious business with profound security and economic implications.

Our nation has so much potential.
 
We are rich in resources and we are positioned in the fastest growing region in human history. Change and opportunity are everywhere.
 
But the Morrison Government is standing still.
 
Frightened of the present.
 
Terrified of the future.
 
Running dead on renewables.
 
If you stand still in a globalised economy, one thing is certain – the world will move past you.

 

Labor’s Alternative

My Labor team is determined to ensure Australia stakes its claim to ongoing prosperity in the quickly changing 21st century.
 
At the heart of my plan is a simple proposition that with the right policies, Australia can be even stronger in the future.
 
I recognise the importance of your sector.
 
That is why at the end of this month I’m taking my entire Shadow Ministry to Port Hedland.
 
Renewable energy is cheap. The more we use it, the more we will cut power bills.
 
Cutting power bills will cut business overheads, a gain that will spark jobs growth right across the economy.
 
Members of the Minerals Council are already moving.
 
BHP, for example has a renewable power purchasing agreement to meet half of its electricity needs across its Queensland coal mines from low-emissions sources, including solar and wind, within five years.
 
Fortescue has set aside $400 million to help fund its ambitious plan to build at least 300 gigawatts of renewable generation to produce hydrogen for electric generation around the world.
 
Embracing renewables will create tens of thousands of secure jobs – jobs you can raise a family on.
 
We are well positioned. Our competitive advantage includes all our abundant resources combined with the skills and talents of our greatest resource – our people.
 
However, my ambition goes further.
 
I want to use the rise of renewables to reinvent Australian manufacturing, which has shed 90,000 jobs under the current government.
 
A Labor Government will turn this around by moving up the value chain.
 
It’s no longer good enough to ship raw materials to overseas markets then buy back manufactured goods at a premium. We can do better.
 
The profile of manufacturing is changing, driven partly by increased automation.
 
In previous decades, low labour costs in developing nations tempted many Australian manufacturers to move offshore.
 
But with automation on the rise across the globe, labour costs are falling as a proportion of total production costs. When we combine that trend with lower power prices due to use of renewables, suddenly manufacturing becomes competitive in this country.
 
What is needed is a government with the vision to grasp this opportunity and the energy to turn it into reality.

 

Policies

Labor’s focus on renewables will cut power bills.
 
And we will cut them further with our Rewiring the Nation Project, rebuilding our ageing electricity distribution system so it meets the needs of the 21st century.
 
We’ll also promote manufacturing investment with our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.
 
Modelled on the successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the fund will provide loans, equity injections, co-investment and lending guarantees to back in the endeavours of companies that see a future in making things in this country.
 
It will target key sectors including resources, food processing, heavy manufacturing, renewable energy and medical and defence equipment.
 
As an example of what could be possible, Australia is uniquely placed to become a major player in the growth industry of the future — batteries.
 
Government figures suggest global demand for batteries will increase by 25 per cent a year each year between now and 2028. Global sales of electric vehicles are forecast to increase tenfold by the end of this decade.
 
As the world’s biggest exporter of lithium, Australia has an opportunity to move beyond bulk exports to value-adding through the creation of a domestic battery manufacturing industry.
 
This is the kind of enterprise that could be boosted by the National Reconstruction Fund.
 
We are already seeing progress in spite of the Federal Government.
 
Tritium in Brisbane, producing EV charging stations and exporting them to Europe and the United States.
 
Magnis’s Lithium-Ion Battery plant in Townsville, which will create 2500 jobs during construction and over 1000 ongoing jobs.
 
A Labor Government will also harness the power of government purchasing to support new industries in areas such as train construction, medical equipment and military capability.
 
The benefits won’t be confined to new industries. For example, more manufacturing in this country will mean more opportunities for the use of Australian steel, made from our iron ore and coal. More local economic activity. And above all, more jobs.

 

Ambition

As Australia moves out of the pandemic, we move toward a future filled with possibility.
 
There are some real opportunities which, if taken, will allow us to build back stronger and create a great future for ourselves and the generations that will follow us.
 
But you can’t realise such opportunities without ambition.
 
The Morrison Government lacks ambition for Australia, for the possibilities of our people and our ingenuity.
 
It can’t even create an effective energy policy.
 
Some key decision makers, like Keith Pitt, are prepared to sell out their own communities by blocking job-creating renewable energy products.
 
Seriously.
 
In contrast, I want to lead a Labor Government that is ambitious, pragmatic and energetic.
 
A government which sees the opportunities on our doorstep and has a plan for how to seize them for our people.
 
American inventor Thomas Edison once noted:
 
Most people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.
 
I’m not afraid of hard work.
 
I don’t want to pretend we can stop the march of progress.
 
I don’t want to turn back the tide.
 
Instead I want to ride the wave of change to create prosperity and jobs for all Australians.

Sign up to get the latest news from Anthony

See the latest News
About Anthony
Meet AnthonyAnthony's Story

Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

DisclaimerPrivacyTerms

Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Authorised by Anthony Albanese. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204.