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Queensland Budget “overlooks” resources industry

The Palaszczuk Government released the state budget today, announcing a $29.7 million  investment in 2015-16 to support drought-affected landholders, protect water resources and underpin the sustainable management and use of Queensland’s natural resources.

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said the budget delivered funding for key sectors across the natural resources and mines portfolio.

“The agriculture and resource sectors are vitally important to the state economy for the jobs, regional growth and significant economic benefits they deliver for all Queenslanders,” Dr Lynham said.

“This budget provides funding to support these sectors in challenging times and to ensure the ongoing sustainable management and use of our land, water and mining resources.

“The first Palaszczuk Government Budget will deliver better online services, boost coal seam gas compliance and manage public safety risks associated with abandoned mines.”

Association of Mining and Explorations Companies CEO Simon Bennison said the mining and minerals sector has been “overlooked” in the budget.

“AMEC is extremely concerned that the government has ceased funding for the Collaborative Drilling Initiative. From 2016-17 the Geological Survey of Queensland Future Resources program is no longer funded,” Mr Bennison said.

“This will make Queensland the only Australian jurisdiction without a co-funded drilling program to encourage exploration.

“Exploration is the key to making new discoveries that will become the mines of tomorrow to generate jobs and revenue streams for the benefit of the state.

“The program has demonstrated significant economic value and returns to the state over the past nine years.”

Mr Bennison said that for the $5.56 million that has been provided to 48 companies since 2006, these companies have spent more than $17.3 million on exploratory drilling.

“Further evidence of the benefit of this program is an independent economic impact study into the Exploration Incentive Scheme in Western Australia. It revealed that for every $1 million invested in the program generated $10.3 million in direct benefits for the state,” he said.

“It is positive that the government has committed $13.7 million, including $7.8 million in capital funding, to modernise and enhance departmental online services to deliver faster service outcomes and improve dealings with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

“AMEC has been advocating for integrated online application and tracking systems to enhance the transparency, accountability and timeframe processes. The government has recognised the value this provides, not only to industry, but to government in reducing ongoing administration costs.”

The government has also committed $2.2 million to address immediate native title trial costs and help accelerate the resolution of all outstanding Queensland native title claims through the Federal Court.

Mr Bennison said much more needs to be done to reduce costs and barriers to entry for mineral exploration and mining in the state.

“The government needs to engage with industry in order to grow the sector to provide the jobs and revenue streams for generations to come,” he said.

Key initiatives in 2015-16 include:

• $8 million to support stage 4 of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative in Queensland

• $6.2 million for the Abandoned Mines Land Program to manage the public safety risks associated with abandoned mine sites across Queensland

• $3.6 million to fund compliance activities by the Coal Seam Gas Compliance Unit, including investigation of landholder concerns about the impact of CSG operations

• $13.7 million, including $7.8 million in capital funding, to modernise and enhance departmental online services to deliver faster service outcomes and make it easier for people to do business with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines

• $2.2 million to address immediate native title trial costs and help accelerate the resolution of all outstanding Queensland native title claims through the Federal Court

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