Prime Minister: Welcome, everyone, to this important APPEA Conference.
During the most challenging year in three quarters of a century, Australia's oil and gas exploration and production industry has really stepped up. You faced and accepted the challenge of ensuring the health and safety of your people and at the same time kept our vital supply lines open, driving our economy forward. This effort has been critical to our strong national response here in Australia, and I want to thank all of you for your efforts.
The oil and gas sector is a major contributor to Australia's prosperity - always has, will always be - employing tens of thousands of women and men across the country, many of them in high wage jobs in regional Australia, creating stronger, more resilient local communities.
And that has never been more important. As we work together - government, industry and each and every Australian - to secure our economic recovery, I want you to know we're backing you in to stay on top as one of the world's leading exporters of LNG. And with a plan here in Australia that sees gas as key - the key to secure, reliable and affordable energy in a transitioning energy market, moving to a new energy economy, and to supporting jobs in those energy intensive industries that are the lifeblood of our economy, especially in regional Australia. It's vital to Australian industry. Industry that will underwrite our economic fortunes for generations to come.
I know there is a new energy economy coming and we need to be ready for it, we need to be part of it and we will be successful in it. We need to make sure that Australia succeeds. But that will not come at the cost of our heavy and manufacturing industries. It will not come through higher taxes. It will come through technology and innovation and the entrepreneurship of our industry leaders, through supporting Australia's resources sector to explore the future. That's how we make our way.
In Australia, we will lead the world in these heavy industry and oil and gas sectors to ensure that we can reduce emissions, be a successful part of the new energy economy and secure Australia's prosperity all at the same time. We can do it here, you can do it anywhere. That will be the leadership that Australia provides to the world when it comes to moving into this new energy economy.
I wish you all the very best for this important conference.