THE Australian Government has upwardly revised its 2016–17 forecast for resources and energy exports by 12 per cent to $175.7 billion, due largely to more optimistic outlooks for iron ore and metallurgical coal.

The Office of the Chief Economist’s Resources and Energy Quarterly report, released last week, said that despite challenging operating conditions, Australia is well placed to satisfy demand for resources and energy over the next 15 months

“In particular, production of most bulk commodities is forecast to increase, even as prices decline,” Chief economist Mark Cully wrote in the report’s foreword.

AMMA head of policy Scott Barklamb says the upgraded forecast demonstrates the continuing significance of the resource industry for Australia’s economy and living standards, and the need to better support future investment through more competitive policy and regulation.

“Even with continued commodity price fluctuations, this export earnings upgrade is further evidence that Australia’s resource industry continues to do the heavy lifting for our economy” Mr Barklamb said.

“Hopefully this uplift will help spur business confidence and unlock some of the $254 billion of viable resource projects that have not proceeded in recent years.

“Australia is not the only country rich in commodities, and competition to attract major foreign investment remains fierce. Despite today’s positive forecast, Australia requires a series of policy and regulatory changes if we are to capture our share of the next wave of global resources investment.”

To position Australia as the ‘first choice’ destination for future global resources investment, AMMA is continuing to advocate genuine reform in a range of areas including:

  • Reducing the company tax rate from 30% to 25% for all businesses, better aligning Australian tax structures with other resource investment destinations.
  • Creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for streamlined approval processes so new projects in Australia can commence on more competitive timeframes.
  • Addressing significant costs and inflexibilities within Australia’s employment laws – starting with implementing the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s 2015 review of Australia’s workplace relations system.

“Australia’s resource industry is now firmly in the ‘production phase’ with almost half of all Australian exports coming from resources.  To keep the benefits flowing into Australian communities for generations to come, the government must move forward with sensible and effective reforms to stimulate new investment and project growth.” Mr Barklamb said.

For more information on AMMA’s advocacy and policy development activities, contact [email protected]