Well thanks so much for that welcome, I’m thrilled to be with you all today. Joe thank you very much for your Welcome to Country. It’s great for me to be here in the wonderful state, the great state of Western Australia, and indeed to be welcomed to the Noongar Nation and thank you to you,to the elders past and present and I acknowledge all of Australia’s traditional owners and first nations peoples and elders in doing so. Premier, your Ministers, your colleagues, Opposition leader Mike Nahan, to my federal colleagues who are here, my great friend the local MP Nola Marino, the Chief Government Whip. Thank you very much Nola for the quick ride here this morning and to fellow federal MPs Louise Pratt. Madeleine King, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. And in particular to the US ambassador A.B. Culvahouse. Welcome, welcome to Australia, its great to have you here just in your first couple of weeks in Australia. I know that you are busy undertaking all of the usual consultations that a new Head of Mission in Australia would do. It’s wonderful that you’re able to get out on the ground, no more earthier location than this one for a new US Ambassador to visit in their first few weeks in the job. And of course, no greater representation of the strength of ties between Australia and the United States of America than the type of investment that is happening here today and that symbolises our relationship. A relationship of which there is no other parallel in terms of the strength that we have economically, and across a range of other connections, is one for the future as much as it is one of the present or the past. The United States is Australia’s largest investment partner and when Ambassador Culvahouse caught up the other day to talk about our relationship, we were talking about the critical importance of that investment relationship. You know Australia is but the fifty-third most populous nation on the planet, but we’re the 13th largest economy in the world and we enjoy that type of success for a range of factors.
We are blessed with natural wonders, natural beauty, natural environment, and of course natural resources. We’re blessed with great human capital, building on 60 thousand years of Indigenous culture and knowledge, successive waves of migrants from all over the earth, who have come here and build a country of great human capital, as well as natural capital. But to be able to ensure that for such a small population, to succeed with that natural capital and that human capital, we also have to be open to the world, open to the world in terms of our trading relations, open to the world in terms of our investment profile. And Australia has long been, always been indeed since those first settlers came to join our Indigenous peoples, Australia has always been open to foreign investment and the important role that collaborating with other nations plays in creating new jobs new opportunities, to power and charge the Australian economy into the future. And today, here we celebrate Albemarle’s investment in Western Australia. And in doing so Albemarle is continuing a long tradition of creating new jobs and new prosperity for local communities. But this investment importantly, is a real demonstration as the Premier indicated, of future jobs for future industries.
The investment in lithium, the support of this investment in terms of downstream activities processing is ensuring that we have a richer range of jobs in our resources sector that is geared towards new technologies new energy sources that will power our economies and those of our region in the world well into the future. It’s an important strategic investment as well. Strategically, having support for Australia to diversify, not just the mineral sources that we use but the type of work that occurs in terms of processing, is critical and gives the many companies of the world who rely upon lithium for their high tech goods and products, the confidence that they can rely on a quality, reliable, producer producing nation like Australia in partnership with an experienced global company like Albemarle to meet those needs for the future. And it’s that type of connectivity that is going to be so very important to ensure that this site is an outstanding success, because people will want to actually be purchasing the products that come out of here for a whole range of future technologies and needs. And as they have always been able to have, when it comes to the Australian resources industry, they will be able to have the confidence that the produce coming out of this site gets to them in the most efficient and high quality way possible, because that’s what our resources sector is always known for.
Can I thank very much Albemarle for the vote of confidence and faith you have shown in Australia’s resources sector by investing here, putting your confidence and faith in our technological skills by putting these processing works here, and our commitment to continue to work with you as a country, working collaboratively between federal and state governments, to make sure that this is not the last such step into the upstream activities, processing, critical steps that can ensure that we have more jobs, more activity in these crucial sectors into the future.
Australia is home to around 50 per cent of the world’s lithium production, a range of other critical minerals as you heard the Premier indicate today. Our government has just released a new Critical Minerals Strategy. We’ve tasked Austrade, our national investment agency to go out and speak to other key companies around the world, to continue to secure investments of this type and nature, that will importantly generate more jobs and prosperity in our resources and associated sectors, but also continue that long, rich, tradition of other nations, global companies, relying on Australia to be a powerhouse for their production and development in the future. All of which helps to keep our economy strong, our job prospects strong well into the future. Thanks for the chance to be with you today, its a thrill to be here and I wish you every success in the finalisation of this project and I look forward to being back here in years to come to see it fully operational.
Thanks so much.