Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt says the importance of the resources sector to the Australian economy has been highlighted in latest trade figures showing iron ore is the first Australian commodity to break the $100b a year mark in export value.
Mr Pitt said figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed the new export record.
“Iron ore exports in the 2019-20 financial year reached $101.7b, which is a great achievement at a time when our economy needs all the support it can get,” he said.
“It smashes the previous annual export benchmark of $77.5b, also set by iron ore in the previous financial year.
“The recent Resources Energy Quarterly revealed total industry exports will reach around $293 billion for the 2019-20 financial year, despite the challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr Pitt acknowledged the industry is not immune to economic downturn caused by COVID-19 but is still making an enormous contribution.
“The slowdown in industrial activity around the world is having an impact on coal and gas demand, however they still managed to generate over $7 billion in exports in June alone,” he said.
“Demand for both will return as we emerge from this pandemic and while some are using the downturn to make exaggerated claims about the future of some resources, the International Energy Agency confirms coal will remain a key player in energy generation for at least the next two decades.
“The resources sector has gone to extraordinary lengths to remain operating through the pandemic and ensure the safety of its workers and the communities where they operate.
“I thank all those resources workers who have adapted to the changing working environment and pull on their boots and put on their hard hats each day to keep the industry going to support our national economy at a time when it needs most needs them.”