AS 2013 comes to a close we can collectively reflect on what has been an interesting and important period for Australia’s resource industry employers.

After a record decade of capital investment and employment growth in our industry, the operating environment over the past 12 months has been comparatively challenging. It is in these business conditions that AMMA has focused on delivering even greater value to our members through our role as your national employer group.

Throughout 2013 AMMA has helped resource employer navigate increasingly complex operational and workforce challenges brought on by a shifting economic environment. This work has helped out industry contribute significantly to investment, employment growth and Australia’s overall well being.

A strong common theme across all areas of AMMA’s activities has been to help mould an operating environment that enables our members to continually innovate, drive productivity in Australia’s resource industry and viably compete in the global marketplace.

Our ongoing priorities can be read online in our 2013 Activities Report, but generally they aim to ensure new resource projects can viably come to market in Australia through a responsible and sustainable process; bringing significant jobs and economic benefits.

AMMA’s team is looking forward to a successful and exciting 2014 as we engage, consult and assist our members to deliver on the opportunities Australia’s resource industry has worked so hard to create in recent times.

On behalf of the AMMA team and our Board of Directors, I thank you for your ongoing support of Australia’s national resource industry employer group and wish you and your families all the best for the upcoming festive season.

Budget deficit shows Labor’s fiscal legacy is as bad as its IR legacy

The national deficit revealed in yesterday’s 2013-14 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook starkly illustrates why the government must embark on fundamental workplace reform to allow Australia’s resource industry to play a critical role in helping our country overcome the $47 billion debt.

Despite talk of an easing of investment, there is still about $480bn worth of projects either committed for Australia or proposed for our shores. Our nation cannot afford to lose the economic benefits of these projects, including income tax from 127,000 construction jobs and long-term royalties and commodity export earnings.

The first step in restoring our nation’s global competitiveness is the Federal Opposition respecting the government’s mandate to remove the carbon and mining taxes. Another critical step is ensuring new projects can proceed through efficient approval processes without facing crippling delays or uncertainty.

AMMA will assiduously advocate for these steps to happen, just as we will for urgent workplace relations reform in areas that have dogged our members for some time.

The reality is Labor’s IR legacy is just as bad as its fiscal legacy. Genuine workplace relations reform must be a major priority for restoring Australia’s competitiveness and stimulating economic activity that will greatly assist the budget situation.

Yesterday’s budget makes it imperative that the government not sit on its hands for three years before introducing meaningful workplace relations reforms. It also makes it imperative that the Senate not hold back improvements to the system.

AMMA has strongly encouraged the government to embark on a workforce reform agenda, consistent with their pre-election policies, to encourage businesses to invest, innovate and create employment growth and associated government revenue.

Key areas of reform for our members include a more balanced agreement making process for new projects, a return to sensible union site entry laws and bringing back the ABCC to stamp out illegal strike action.

Queensland project approvals show the boom is far from over

On a more positive note, last week AMMA congratulated the Federal Government and Environment Minister Greg Hunt for the approval of four mining and related infrastructure projects in Queensland, which would bring a significant injection of jobs and economic benefits.

The government green-lighted the $20 billion Arrow Energy LNG facility for Curtis Island and related gas transmission pipeline, the Adani T0 coal project and the development of three significant coal export terminals at Abbot Point.

Collectively, these significant resource industry projects would create more than 5000 new construction-based roles in Queensland and inject many billions of dollars into the economy.

This is a very welcome decision from the Federal Government, following the Queensland Government’s timely progression of these significant projects through the state approval processes.

These wealth-creating developments are just four of more than 300 projects in Australia’s resource industry investment pipeline, representing about $500 billion of capital. Coupled with this week’s approvals, this future potential puts to bed any pre-election nonsense that Australia’s resources boom is coming to a rapid end.

To secure this future investment pipeline and the solid benefits, taxes and royalty streams that will come from an increased and efficient production phase, AMMA will continue to pursue legislative and policy change that our nation needs to remove unnecessary red tape and the drivers of escalating project costs.