AUSTRALIA’S resource employers will look to this week’s federal budget to support the industry in making a significant, long-term contribution to Australia’s economic and social wellbeing.
The national resource industry employer group AMMA said parliament must deliver a fiscal framework that restores confidence in Australia as a competitive destination for investment in natural resources.
“Australian industries need confidence that the federal government can chart a course to budget repair by addressing serious expenditure issues and positioning Australia on a fiscally strong road to growth. The 2015 budget is an opportunity to deliver these conditions,” said chief executive Steve Knott.
“Despite the recent intense focus on the ups-and-downs of commodity prices and the transition out of a record investment and construction phase, the extraordinary contribution of the resource industry to Australia has decades to play out.
“Any fiscal approach that overreacts to the investment downturn in our sector would be misguided.
“The significantly increased production capacity across key export commodities will deliver increased national revenues for many years to come.”
Mr Knott said recent KPMG research shows that Australia is the largest global exporter of iron ore in the world, with $74.8 billion produced in 2013-14.
“Liquefied natural gas will also play a major role in Australia’s export future,” he said.
“The $16.4 billion worth of LNG exports in 2013-14 is expected to surge as a number of new major projects on the east and west coasts enter operation in the next 12-24 months.”
Despite this, as other resource-rich nations ramp up their own production capacities, Mr Knott said Australia must become a more attractive place to secure new investment and do business.
“We look forward to a federal budget that is treated on its merits and assessed by the parliament in a manner that allows the government get on with rebuilding a strong economy,” he said.
“However, budget certainty is only one of the measures needed to ensure Australia is a globally competitive place to do business.
“More broadly, it is critical that our regulatory environment encourages greater investment and exploration in new resource projects that will create employment opportunities and solidify Australia’s long-term export capacity.
“A major part of this is fundamentally reforming our workplace relations system. Australia’s resource employers cannot continue to work within an noncompetitive framework that delays new projects, adds millions to their delivery costs and stifles workplace productivity.
“If all our parliamentarians play their role in effectively building both a strong fiscal outlook and competitive regulatory environment, our resource industry can and will continue to be a major economic pillar and a key driver of increased living standards throughout the community.”