Former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello has delivered a passionate defence of the mining sector, saying it has been “treated shabbily” in Australia and questioning why learning about the industry is not part of the curriculum in Australian schools.
In a lecture to the Minerals Council of Australia in Melbourne, Mr Costello bemoaned that students learning about the mining industry would be more likely to learn of the sector’s environmental impacts as opposed to its economic benefits.
And Mr Costello took aim at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s emphasis on “innovation”, saying the preoccupation with creating the next Facebook or Uber ignored the enduring economic prowess and innovation witnessed in traditional industries like the mining sector.
The former treasurer said technology companies had consistently been overvalued and overhyped, culminating in the dot.com bubble bursting in the early 2000s, while so-called “old” sectors like mining and agriculture had continued to contribute to economic growth and exports.
“The tens of billions of export dollars it earns the country is not going to be surpassed by tech startups any time soon and certainly not in our lifetimes,” he said. “The senior members in the Government understand this. The talk might be tech but the money’s in the mining.”
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