Anthony Albanese will accuse the Morrison government of endangering Australian jobs and exports through its opposition to renewables and its belligerent rhetoric about China.
The Labor leader will use a speech to the Minerals Council of Australia to reassure mining companies that the opposition supports continued fossil fuel exports.
But Albanese will also signal Labor’s intention to accelerate the shift to the new energy economy as the world moves towards a low-carbon future and “markets change.”
Albanese’s speech comes as Labor continues to grapple with the direction of its climate and energy policy. At Tuesday’s regular caucus meeting, Victorian MPs Ged Kearney and Libby Coker expressed concern over new gas development in the Beetaloo Basin in a debate sparked by a disallowance motion by independent Zali Steggall .
Steggall’s motion, which has caucus support, seeks to stop new gas development in the Northern Territory. But Labor decided to reject the proposed rejection, and a number of MPs, including Joel Fitzgibbon and Bill Shorten, argued it was the right move as Labor supported the use of gas as a bridging fuel. .
Fitzgibbon has been on a public crusade since the Labor Party’s electoral defeat in 2019, claiming the party has lost touch with its blue collar base, allowing the Coalition to present itself as a workers’ best friend due to its support for industries traditional extractive.
Albanese will say in Wednesday’s speech to the Minerals Council that the Morrison government has distorted “investment decisions while undermining job-creating companies that will lower electricity prices” through its opposition to renewables.
The Labor leader quotes Resources Minister Keith Pitt who vetoed a recommendation by the board of directors of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to invest in a wind farm south of Cairns “which would have created 250 jobs and helped to cut electricity prices… leaving the Queensland Labor government to step in to fill the void ”.
Channeling concerns from the resource sector over the damaging economic impact of the Canberra-Beijing trade dispute, Albanese will also blame the government for its handling of relations with Beijing, which it says must be a “real concern” for members. of Minerals. Consulting and other exporters.
“Scott Morrison lacks a long-term strategy for dealing with a changing China that defends its interests more assertively, while finding areas of potential cooperation, including trade, that are in the best interests. of our two countries, “he said.
“Mr. Morrison makes the grave mistake of prioritizing his national political interests over Australia’s national interests. “
Albanese cites comments by Defense Minister Peter Dutton and Home Secretary Michael Pezzullo’s warnings about war drums as incursions that could “ignite nationalist sentiments” but harm Australia’s interests .
“Australia needs more strategy and less politics when it comes to handling our disputes with China. “
Albanese argues that despite eight years in power, the Coalition has no legacy of economic reform, accusing it of spending $ 100 billion in the last budget without a plan to pay off $ 1 billion in net debt. of dollars. “This budget is a debt condemnation for Australia,” he said.
He says Labor will help spur job growth, lower electricity prices and high-end manufacturing through its $ 20 billion national policy rewiring and $ 15 billion from the national reconstruction fund.
Policies set off-budget funds to invest in Australia’s transmission grid and manufacturing, much like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation invests in renewables.
Albanese argues that lower energy costs combined with increased automation provide an opportunity to reverse the long-term decline in Australian manufacturing.
“It is no longer enough to ship raw materials to foreign markets and then buy back manufactured products at a higher price. We can do better.
Nonetheless, Albanese acknowledges that Australia will “continue to export” its current main resources: iron ore, liquefied natural gas, gold, metallurgical and thermal coal.
“But as everyone here knows, the markets change,” he says. “As the world moves towards a low carbon future, the demand for some resources will decline. But there will be a strong demand for other resources, especially those needed by growing sectors like electric vehicles and batteries. “
Albanese notes that Australia also has a “bright future” by exporting other resources, including aluminum, lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel and rare earths.