THE Australian Government’s Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, will soon begin work on a new National Resources Statement, incorporating the recommendations of the Resources 2030 Taskforce report released in late September.

Stating the need for a plan that could be supported by both sides of politics, Minister Canavan said the National Resources Statement would be the first of its kind for 20 years, focused on building a stronger and more competitive resources sector.

“The Liberal-National government is committed to developing a long-term, bipartisan agenda with all governments to support workers in our resource industry,” Minister Canavan said.

“There is significant growth projected for all of our resource commodity exports, like coal, iron ore and gas. And, demand for the minerals that drive modern technologies, like lithium, rare earths, nickel and cobalt, is surging. Australia produces 10 of the 16 minerals that are needed to make a solar panel.

“However, the taskforce’s report shows that future opportunities will not fall into our lap. We cannot let complacency turn into missed opportunity.

“I welcome the report’s recommendations to re-invest in Australia’s reputation as a stable investment destination (and) attract the investment to drive future resource jobs growth.

“To achieve that we must consider carefully the taskforce’s recommendations to grow our resource base, reduce unnecessary approval delays, reinvest in skills and communities and improve environmental performance.”

The Resources 2030 Taskforce was chaired by former Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, and comprised representatives from business, academia, government and the community.

AMMA and a diverse group of member company senior executives contributed to the consultation phase through two AMMA-hosted roundtable discussions in May and July.

Some of the Taskforce’s recommendations strongly endorsed by AMMA include:

  • Formation of a Strategic Ministerial Advisory Group to drive reform and promote the long-term national interests of the resources sector.
  • A strategic national reform agenda should be agreed and pursued by all resources ministers on the COAG Energy Council.
  • Development of a Resources Data Strategy to advance data collection and analysis.
  • Governments, industry and local communities should work together to identify and promote priority new basins and provinces for greenfield development.
  • National expansion of the Commonwealth’s Exploring for the Future program, both onshore and offshore.
  • Creation of bilateral agreements and more “one-stop-shops” to streamline environmental approvals and regulatory processes.
  • Government/industry collaboration to map the industry’s skills needs for 2030 and beyond.
  • Better coordination of resources-focused curricula at university and VET levels that target the longer term needs of the sector.

AMMA further welcomed a number of recommendations aimed at fostering more positive community sentiment towards the industry, building the future pipeline of skills and talent, and better promoting the industry to the international investment community.

Industry reaction to the Taskforce report

AMMA’s Director of Industry Services, Tara Diamond, was among the first industry spokespeople and participants in the Resources 2030 consultations to welcome its findings.

“Not since the National Resources Statement of the late 1990s has the Australian Government released such a strong vision for the type of collaboration, regulatory reform and investment required to support the future prosperity of Australia’s resources and energy industry,” Ms Diamond said.

“AMMA congratulates Minister for Resources Matthew Canavan and the Taskforce team for achieving their goal of building a long-term platform for the ongoing development of Australian resources that could, and should, attract bipartisan support in the Australian Parliament.

“This could only be achieved through extensive industry and community consultation in which AMMA and a diverse group of our member company senior executives were pleased to contribute.”

The Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) particularly welcomed measures to lift greenfields exploration.

“Australia needs greater greenfields mineral exploration to discover future mines. The Taskforce has acknowledged the need to increase mineral exploration, as the discovery rate has been in slow decline for the last decade,” said AMEC CEO Warren Pearce.

“Each new discovery that leads to a mine creates jobs, royalties and a wide range of economic and community benefits.

“To promote the development of the industry, the Taskforce has identified the need to remove red tape, complexity and cost from the current State and Federal Environmental Approvals system.”

The Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association (APPEA) said the report was important to securing the long-term future of the oil and gas industry.

“The oil and gas industry has invested around $300 billion in oil and gas projects across Australia over the last decade. This investment will deliver decades of economic growth, exports and jobs for Australia,” said APPEA chief executive Malcolm Roberts.

“The economic footprint of the oil and gas industry goes far beyond its production wells and operating facilities. Oil and gas is not ‘just’ a resources industry – it supports a vast supply chain of businesses in manufacturing, services and construction.

“That is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, transport and other industries which are supported by the oil and gas we produce.”

The Federal Opposition thanked the Taskforce for its efforts and said it would “now consider” the recommendations.

AMMA would be pleased to hear member feedback or discuss recommendations of the Resources 2030 Taskforce. Please contact [email protected].