Resources Minister Keith Pitt calls for more coal, gas and uranium exports

“Of course with any new gas development we must ensure that our precious water resources are protected, that high value farm land is protected and that local communities and local business get real benefits and real jobs,” he said.


Mr Pitt also slammed the Victorian government’s moratorium on onshore gas exploration as a threat to jobs.

“If we don’t explore and develop new gas supplies, we are consigning a lot of our manufacturing sector to outsourcing overseas and making families and businesses pay more for energy supplies,” he said.

He added that farm land and water resources had to be protected and that local communities gained real benefits and jobs from the gas developments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $2 billion commitment to NSW on January 31 with the condition the state find 70 petajoules of gas to supply the state market, an amount equivalent to the Narrabri project.


Santos chief Kevin Gallagher said the project would bring down prices so households would pay less.

“Narrabri gas will always be cheaper for NSW customers than gas imported from other states or overseas, particularly when liquefied natural gas prices are high in Asia,” he said.

Mr Pitt’s remarks counter environmental groups that have fought for years against new gas projects, with Mr Pitt taking a hard line after replacing fellow Queenslander and Nationals MP Matt Canavan in the portfolio last week.

Mr Pitt insisted Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack was “absolutely” safe after the failed leadership challenge from former leader Barnaby Joyce last week.

Keith Pitt backed the leadership of Deputy PM Michael McCormack.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“I think people will just get their heads down and their bums up now. There are far more important things happening around the country, whether it’s bushfires or floods or the coronavirus,” he said.

“It’s a difficult time for the Australian people and we’ve got to focus on them.”

While Senator Canavan regularly provoked environmental groups with his advocacy for coal, Mr Pitt showed no signs of retreating on the issue and said he wanted to make Australia a bigger “energy superpower”.

‘Clearly the climate’s changing’

In contrast with colleagues who played down the threat from climate change, Mr Pitt said he accepted the science and the contribution of human factors toward the trend.

“Clearly the climate’s changing – you only have to look at the fact we’ve had droughts and floods, but it’s a matter of what we do about it,” he said.

“So the Prime Minister’s focus on resilience is something I’m 100 per cent for.”

Mr Pitt said the solutions should include more water storage and more hazard reduction burning, something he said was the biggest issue raised with him in recent months.

“The climate has always changed and we are doing our part as we should, and I think we just need to be careful that we don’t get to the point where it becomes a religion for individuals,” he said.


Mr Pitt grew up in Bundaberg and attended the local public school before becoming an apprentice electrician and working as a tradesman, after which he gained an engineering degree at the Queensland University of Technology.

The son of a sugar cane harvesting contractor and farmer, Mr Pitt owned several cane farms while also working as an engineer before entering Parliament.

An advocate of nuclear power in the past, Mr Pitt said he would not be making any decisions about nuclear energy given this was the responsibility of Energy Minister Angus Taylor, but he backed more uranium exports.

“We have a very large range of deposits right around the country and there have been submissions from the Queensland Resources Council about the potential to add billions of dollars to the Australian economy,” he said.

“We need to continue to explore all opportunities and turn them into reality.”

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