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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has called on the federal government to implement a number of reforms in order to "seize a once in a generation opportunity" to grow investment in the resources sector.
In its 2023/24 pre-Budget submission, the MCA pointed out that Australia’s mining industry was ideally placed to lead the globe’s efforts to decarbonise and achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
“The Australian minerals industry has demonstrated its ability to be a major contributor to the economy, and this contribution should not be taken for granted. Over the last decade, the industry contributed to A$2.4-trillion in resources export revenue, A$252-billion in mining wages, A$143-billion in company taxes, A$112-billion in royalties, and generated 21% of the economy’s growth.
“Australia’s minerals industry could increase its contribution to the economy with the right policy settings,” the submission stated.
The industry body called on the federal government to provide the necessary business and regulatory environment to attract the estimated additional $100-billion annually of global mining investment needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
“The economic opportunity this presents for Australia is significant, but not guaranteed.
Australia’s vulnerability to competition from resource-rich economies will only grow as they seek to seize the opportunity to supply the minerals and metals needed to achieve global net zero emissions,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.
“To attract a significant proportion of this investment that will create tens of thousands of new regional jobs, business growth and investment should be placed at the centre of the government’s policymaking.
“Current policy settings are putting at risk investment in mining. Workplace relations, tax, environment, climate change and energy policies that impose unexpected costs on the mining industry threaten the capital investment that underpins its contribution to the economy and the global efforts to decarbonise.
“Australia needs more investment along the entire mining value chain to boost the economy’s performance and play its part in the goal of net zero emissions by 2050,” Constable said.
To achieve this, the Australian government would have to ensure that no new or additional tax is imposed on the industry and reduce the company tax rate to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average for all businesses.
The MCA has also suggested that workplace relations rules should be implemented that enable enterprises to work with employees to lift productivity and increase wages, while safeguard mechanisms that achieve a sustainable reduction in emissions by 2030 while maintaining the international competitiveness of industry as part of an effective transition to net zero emissions by 2050 should be implemented.
Furthermore, growth in the industry would require project approvals that are timely, efficient and streamlined with state and territory processes, incentivising business investment while upholding high environmental standards, as well as government working with the industry to expand opportunities for trade and investment, including promoting Australian mining’s high environmental, social and governance performance.
The MCA has also called on the government to work with the industry to better target skills and deliver quality education and training to satisfy the industry’s workforce requirements, and suggested a coordinated approach across federal and state and territory governments to regulating transformative technologies to unlock the productivity gains from innovation.
“Australia cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity it is presented with to maximise the economic potential of its minerals endowments,” Constable said.