AMMA members who attended the 2015 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne last week may have seen representatives from their national resource industry employer group delivering presentations on stage or speaking with delegates in the exhibition area.

AMMA was a proud Associate Partner of IMARC 2015, which attracted more than 1,000 people from the global mining community over its three-day trade exhibition and conference program (Nov 10-12).

Along with hosting a booth in the exhibition, AMMA took to the stage in the ‘Productivity’ stream on day two, delivering back-to-back presentations.

AMMA executive director of policy and public affairs, Scott Barklamb, began with a presentation titled ‘The Workforce Gender Diversity Imperative’ (click here for slides).

Scott explained why smart, forward-thinking resource organisations around the world must continue to attract and retain more women for commercial reasons including developing the skills base needed for the future.

The audience also heard about how AMMA’s national gender diversity initiative, the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA), is assisting employers to improve their gender diversity capability through various programs and practical resources.

Following this, AMMA’s director of government relations, Daniel Mammone, spoke to the IMARC audience on ‘Guiding employers through business transformation – a workplace relations perspective’ (click here for slides).

Highlighting some key problem areas with Australia’s employment laws for resource employers, Daniel went on to discuss key reforms that AMMA and its members are advocating for during the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Australia’s workplace relations framework.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott chairing an afternoon session at IMARC 2015

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott chairing an afternoon session at IMARC 2015

A full day of plenary sessions and workshops on the final day of the conference culminated in an afternoon session titled ‘The Mining Effect’, chaired by AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

Steve welcomed industry leaders including Fortescue Metals Group CEO Nev Power who discussed the iron ore miner’s focus on delivering results through innovation, and Hancock Prospecting director Professor Ian Plimer who gave his thoughts on government impediments to mining.

Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, used his keynote address as an opportunity to explain how the Australian Government intends to support the resource industry as investment winds back to more normalised levels.

“We are committed to cutting red-tape to reduce project delays and costs through a streamlining of approval processes for major resource projects,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“We continue to work to remove duplication between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments with a one-stop shop for environmental assessment and approvals.

“We are also expanding our Major Projects Approval Agency to provide a simpler, faster assessment and approval process for major projects.

“Together, these initiatives remove duplication, reduce costs and create greater certainty for investors.

“We recognise that exploration underpins the long-term future of Australia’s mining industry. We have established a $100 million Exploration Development Incentive to support greenfields explorations through tax offsets.”

Minister Frydenberg also spoke of the importance of fostering innovation and said the government was establishing two think-tanks known as ‘Industry Growth Centres’ dedicated to the resource industry.

“One is for the METS industry—or mining equipment, technology and services; the other is for oil, gas and energy resources,” he said.

“Over 50 per cent of companies in Australia’s $90 billion METS sector export their goods and services, with current exports exceeding $27 billion or approximately 30 per cent of the sector’s revenues.

“60 per cent of the world’s mining related software is written in Australia.

“The METS Growth Centre, METS Ignited, was launched last month to help improve the competitiveness of the resources industry.

“The Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre is also expected to be up and running by early 2016.”

The afternoon session also involved two panel discussions with executives and thought-leaders from industry and academia exploring the future role of innovation and the business case for sustainable mining.