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Question Time: Phasing Out Coal and Gas

On Thursday 1 December 2022, I asked the Minister for Resources about the government's plan to keep coal mines open past 2050. You can read the full transcript below.

E WATSON-BROWN: My question is to the Minister for Resources, and it's on behalf of three young Pacific leaders I met this week. They know, as the science says, that we need to phase out coal and gas mining to save their homelands from the climate crisis. You've said that it's up to the market, but this week the market said it's planning for 12 coalmines in Queensland past 2050, with two still operating in 2099. Do you still say that the future of coal and gas should be left to the market?

M KING: I thank the member for her question. It is true that the international market will dictate what coal is sold from this country—equally, what gas is sold from this country and, equally, what iron ore is sold from this country—as it does for higher education exports and for all the things we export. Commodities, of course, support this economy and have done for many years—coal, indeed, since 1801.

I accept your comments about the people you met with. Of course, their concerns are entirely justified, and we share their concerns. That's why this government is taking action on climate change. We have legislated targets in this place, and I know that you and others here have supported them. Obviously not everyone has, but certainly enough people to make sure that that legislation passed.

This government is committed to net zero emissions by 2050. The Minister for Climate Change and Energy is right now working on the very important reform to the safeguard mechanism. We want to make sure that all of the high-emitting industries in this nation reduce their emissions so that we can reach net zero emissions by 2050. The truth is that other nations chose to reach net zero emissions well before this country did. Japan and Korea were both ahead of this country in making that pledge. These countries continue to purchase our coal, gas and iron ore. Two of those things make the all-important steel, which will be required for infrastructure right around the world, including in building the new capital of Indonesia.

The commodities of Australia will build the future of our region, and with our region—whether it be the Pacific, North Asian or South-East Asian nations—we'll also work together to combat climate change so that there is a future for all our children and all our people.

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