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CME welcomes Federal Budget focus on future of mining and resources sector

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) welcomes measures announced in the 2021-22 Federal Budget to encourage investment in mining and resources, help develop the sector’s workforce of the future and foster the use of technology to deliver lower emissions energy. 

CME Chief Executive Paul Everingham said Australia’s stronger than previously expected economic position highlighted not just the nation’s ability to negotiate the COVID-19 pandemic but also the contributions of the mining and resources sector. 

Budget documents showed higher-than-expected iron ore prices resulted in a resurgence of Australia’s terms of trade, and increased company tax receipts of $3.4 billion this year and $7 billion over forward estimates. 

“I continue to be very proud of the way our sector has been able to keep operating safely and effectively through COVID-19 and the positive impact this has had on both the WA and Australian economies,” Mr Everingham said. 

“Federally, corporate taxes paid by CME member companies and the flow-on of some of the royalties paid to the WA government have helped fund vital support mechanisms such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, and made a significant contribution to the country’s comparatively healthy economic position and outlook. 

“I think this Federal Budget recognises our sector’s importance as a major provider of jobs and community contributions. The initiatives contained within the budget will give member companies the confidence they need to work towards and beyond the $140 billion of projects that are currently in the WA pipeline.” 

Among the significant announcements contained in the Budget, or unveiled in the lead-up to it: 

  • $1.2 billion towards A Digital Economy Strategy that accelerate investment in emerging technologies and building digital skills in Australia’s future workforce 
  • A four-year, $100 million extension to the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive 
  • A combined $71.2 million for commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects being developed in WA by ATCO and Yara Pilbara (in consortium with Engie Renewables Australia) 
  • $120 million invested in deregulatory measures, including streamlining reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme 
  • $111.9 million in co-investment in the Northern Australia Development Program to help businesses scale up and diversify. 
  • Extensions of the Investment Allowance providing for immediate depreciation on capital investment in plant and equipment and Temporary Loss Carry-Back programs 
  • $111.2 million over four years from 2021-22 to expand and enhance digital mental health services 
  • $29.3m over four years from 2021-22 to maintain the timeliness of Commonwealth environmental assessments and to support the delivery of policy reforms as part of the Government’s initial response to the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) 
  • $9.3 million to help capitalise on regional strengths such as critical minerals development, as part of the Regions of Growth pilot program. 

“Our member companies are strongly committed towards discovering the major mining and resources projects of WA’s future, training the next generation of Australians who will work in them and developing the lower emissions energy sources that will keep them running,” Mr Everingham said.

“By encouraging exploration, helping build digital skills and investing in renewable energy, these Budget measures help give member companies the confidence they need to keep striving towards those goals. 

“The budget focus on recovery through COVID-19 management and funding to accelerate the vaccine rollout, rather than taxation, will provide much needed certainty for business.  Similarly, deregulation and reduction of red tape across a variety of policy areas provides strong incentives for mining and resources companies to continue to make the large-scale investments that drive our sector.”