Address at event marking the start of construction at Albemarle Lithium Production facility

28 March 2019

Well thanks somuch for that welcome, I'm thrilled to be with you all today. Joe thank youvery much for your Welcome to Country. It's great for me to be here in thewonderful state, the great state of Western Australia, and indeed to bewelcomed to the Noonga Nation and thank you to the elders past and present andI acknowledge all of Australia's traditional owners and first nations peoplesand elders in doing so. Premier, your Ministers, your colleagues, Oppositionleader Mike Nahan, to my federal colleagues who are here, my great friend thelocal MP Nola Marino, the Chief Government Whip. Thank you very much Nola forthe quick ride here this morning and to fellow federal MPs Louise Pratt.Madeleine King, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. And in particularto the US ambassador A.B. Culvahouse. Welcome, welcome to Australia, it's greatto have you here just in your first couple of weeks in Australia. I know thatyou are busy undertaking all of the usual consultations that a new Head ofMission in Australia would do. It's wonderful that you're able to get out onthe ground, no more earthier location than this one for a new US Ambassador tovisit in their first few weeks in the job. And of course, no greaterrepresentation of the strength of ties between Australia and the United Statesof America than the type of investment that is happening here today and thatsymbolises our relationship. A relationship, of which there is no otherparallel in terms of the strength that we have economically, and across a rangeof other connections, is one for the future as much as it is one of the presentor the past. The United States is Australia's largest investment partner andwhen Ambassador Culvahouse caught up the other day to talk about ourrelationship, we were talking about the critical importance of that investmentrelationship. You know Australia is but the fifty-third most populous nation onthe planet, but we're the 13th largest economy in the world and we enjoy thattype of success for a range of factors.

We are blessedwith natural wonders, natural beauty, natural environment, and of coursenatural resources. We're blessed with great human capital, building on 60thousand years of Indigenous culture and knowledge, successive waves ofmigrants from all over the earth, who have come here and build a country ofgreat human capital, as well as natural capital. But to be able to ensure thatfor such a small population, to succeed with that natural capital and thathuman capital, we also have to be open to the world, open to the world in termsof 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 cameto join our Indigenous peoples, Australia has always been open to foreigninvestment and the important role that collaborating with other nations playsin creating new jobs new opportunities, to power and charge the Australianeconomy into the future. And today, here we celebrate Albemarle's investment inWestern Australia. And in doing so Albemarle is continuing a long tradition ofcreating new jobs and new prosperity for local communities. But this investmentimportantly, is a real demonstration as the Premier indicated, of future jobsfor future industries.

The investmentin lithium, the support of this investment in terms of downstream activitiesprocessing is ensuring that we have a richer range of jobs in our resourcessector that is geared towards new technologies new energy sources that willpower our economies and those of our region in the world well into the future.It's an important strategic investment as well. Strategically, having supportfor Australia to diversify, not just the mineral sources that we use but thetype of work that occurs in terms of processing, is critical and gives the manycompanies of the world who rely upon lithium for their high tech goods andproducts, the confidence that they can rely on a quality, reliable, producerproducing nation like Australia in partnership with an experienced globalcompany like Albemarle to meet those needs for the future. And it's that typeof connectivity that is going to be so very important to ensure that this siteis an outstanding success, because people will want to actually be purchasingthe products that come out of here for a whole range of future technologies andneeds. And as they have always been able to have, when it comes to theAustralian resources industry, they will be able to have the confidence thatthe produce coming out of this site gets to them in the most efficient and highquality way possible, because that's what our resources sector is always knownfor.

Can I thankvery much Albemarle for the vote of confidence and faith you have shown inAustralia's resources sector by investing here, putting your confidence andfaith in our technological skills by putting these processing works here, andour commitment to continue to work with you as a country, workingcollaboratively between federal and state governments, to make sure that this isnot the last such step into the upstream activities, processing, critical stepsthat can ensure that we have more jobs, more activity in these crucial sectorsinto the future.

Australia ishome to around 50 per cent of the world's lithium production, a range of othercritical minerals as you heard the Premier indicate today. Our government hasjust released a new Critical Minerals Strategy. We've tasked Austrade, ournational investment agency to go out and speak to other key companies aroundthe world, to continue to secure investments of this type and nature, that willimportantly generate more jobs and prosperity in our resources and associatedsectors, but also continue that long, rich, tradition of other nations, globalcompanies, relying on Australia to be a powerhouse for their production anddevelopment in the future. All of which helps to keep our economy strong, ourjob prospects strong well into the future. Thanks for the chance to be with youtoday, it's a thrill to be here and I wish you every success in thefinalisation of this project and I look forward to being back here in years tocome to see it fully operational.

Thanks so much.

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