RESOURCE industry employers are more likely to invest in Russia, Nicaragua and the Ivory Coast over most Australian states and territories, according to the Fraser Institute’s latest survey of mining companies around the world.

Released late last week, the Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies: 2014 assessed how resource industry executives perceived a range of countries and regions in terms of investment attractiveness over the past year.

Western Australia, which had formerly taken the top spot in the annual survey as the most promising investment destination, was displaced by Finland, falling instead to fifth place in 2014, behind Sweden and Alberta in Canada.

According to the survey, regulatory burden and a combative workplace relations system played a key role in executive perceptions that deterred potential investment.

A minimum of 23% of survey respondents said that labour regulations and work disruptions reduced investment attractiveness for all Australian states and territories, with Queensland emerging as the most challenging in this field at 34%.

Victoria also fared particularly poorly in the latest survey, with 61% of participants indicating that uncertainty around administration, interpretation and enforcement of existing regulations was a significant deterrent for developing resource projects in the state.

Regulatory duplication between state and federal laws also placed downward pressure on competitiveness for Victoria, but Tasmania emerged as the leader in this challenge, with 75% of participants reporting duplication to be a restrictive influence.

Tasmania also took the lead for Australia in terms of environmental approvals as a disincentive for investment, with 81% indicating they would not develop new resource industry projects due to uncertainty around environmental regulation.

A minimum of 36% of survey respondents also pointed to Australia’s taxation regime as a deterring factor for investment.

National resource employer group AMMA has long advocated for a policy framework that improves Australia’s attractiveness as an investment destination and executive director Scott Barklamb says the latest data from the Fraser Institute highlights the need for reform.

“Australia’s declining investment pipeline of resource industry projects should be evidence enough of our competitive challenges, but this report shows how dire the situation really is for Australia’s mining, oil and gas future,” he said.

“It shows that as a nation, we must be prepared to take the reform steps necessary to turn this competitive disadvantage around. One good example is the Productivity Commission’s current review of the Fair Work Act 2009 which AMMA is contributing greatly to.

“Now is the time start acting toward a fairer, balanced workplace relations system that sees productivity placed on the agenda and greater labour relations promoted to protect job creation and economic growth for the nation.”

To learn more about AMMA’s policy activities, click here.