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By Joel Fitzgibbon

12 August 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the resources sector has helped to prop up the Australian economy. In particular, the coal and iron ore sectors have been agile in their operational responses and soldiered on successfully.


But unfortunately, falling demand in the economies of our major customers is affecting both export volumes and commodity prices. As a consequence, the coal mining companies are responding by cutting production.


This is going to have a significant impact on our already struggling local economy. Hopefully the coal production brakes will not be held for too long and no jobs will be lost in the industry. But regardless, when the mining industry slows down so too does our economy.


On this matter we are entirely in the hands of our customers and the fate of their economies. Fingers crossed!




I’m happy that a number of financial grants allocated to our electorate in recent weeks has not only assisted local sporting, service, childcare, school, and other groups but have also given me a reason to visit the organisations during this COVID-19 period.


Like all of us, COVID-19 has put challenges in the way of our volunteers, but they have largely been able to soldier on. From kids enjoying sport to those needing home-help, our community continues to benefit from the work of those who give their time freely in the assistance and interest of others. On behalf of the community, I again say thank you to all of them.




After plenty of angst over COVID-19, the Federal Parliament will finally re-convene on August 24. I don’t believe enough effort has gone into making sittings of the Parliament happen more regularly; most large organisations have been able to continue with their primary work.


It’s all fine to say the Parliament is unique and to talk about the importance of people-to-people interaction – I agree with all of that. But we should never allow the perfect to get in the way of the possible. We should operate to the same rules as everyone else. When the Parliament is not sitting the government of the day avoids the scrutiny of the legislature. When that goes on too long, our democracy is the loser.


Having said all of that, Parliamentary committees have continued to operate and many of the functions of government can go for long periods of time without passing new legislation, or any reference to the Parliament. Ministers continue to do their work, as do local representatives. Indeed, while it’s changed the way we work, COVID-19 has caused MPs to be busier than ever. But it’s past time the Parliament met and I’m looking forward to it doing so.