This month I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Canberra for the Federal Budget – my first trip to our capital since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While technology means virtual meetings are now easier than they have ever been, opportunities to meet in person and raise important issues for our sector are still invaluable.
Over the course of four days, a CME contingent that also included Director of Policy and Advocacy, Rob Carruthers, and Director of Communications and Campaigns, Rosalie Cobai, met with a variety of Ministers, MPs from the three major parties, senior public servants and journalists who cover both politics and the resources sector.
I can report that there is a deep awareness of the value of our sector to the national economy, communities around the country and also to Australia’s identity. There is a realisation that mining and resources is one of a number of Australian industries currently affected by a skills shortage and an appetite to seek innovative and creative ways to address that situation, both now and into the future.
The people we met with also showed strong interest in Indigenous heritage and the progress of the new WA Aboriginal Heritage Act. Critical minerals were another talking point, and pretty much everyone asked us about the iron ore price!
Some of those discussions in Canberra have already paved the way for important conversations back home, with Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt meeting with members in Perth recently before undertaking a tour of member companies’ Pilbara operations, and representatives from the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office visiting Perth the week after the Budget.
The Budget itself was a positive one for our sector. It was pleasing to see a four-year extension for the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive, funding for the renewable hydrogen projects being undertaken by Yara on the Burrup Peninsula and ATCO in the Mid West, and $1.2 billion being pledged towards A Digital Economy Strategy that will accelerate investment in emerging technologies and help build digital skills in Australia’s future workforce.
Beyond the Budget, CME is obviously keeping a very close eye on the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak. Nobody wants to see borders shut between Australian States but we understand the decisions taken by governments and look forward to a return to normality in Victoria, hopefully very soon.
Lastly, many of you will no doubt have seen and heard the latest of CME’s advertising campaign, The Resources Sector – Building a Better WA, built around the tagline Safer, Smarter, Cleaner. Our ads are gaining good traction on TV and radio, in print and online, and the concept will be expanded even further in future phases of campaigning.
If your company or organisation has material that can be used to support Safer, Smarter, Cleaner, please get in touch with CME’s communications team – email@example.com