The 9 May Commonwealth budget surplus was delivered by strong returns from the resources sector.
For our sector, the previously announced $15B National Reconstruction Fund is one of the largest investments in manufacturing in Australia’s history, and includes $1B focused on ‘value adding to resources’. Of the new expenditure, the $57.1M for Critical Minerals International Partnerships to secure strategic and commercial partnerships is promising.
AMEC has written to the Minister for Finance to underline our concern with the Australian Tax Office’s decision, announced in the budget papers, to withdraw all guidance relating to deductions relating to exploration, mining and quarrying rights. Following the ATO’s loss of a Supreme Court Case that focused on their incorrect assessment of their own guidance.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has consulted on several topics pertinent to the mining and mineral exploration sector. The Government released draft legislation to underpin the operation of a national ‘nature repair market’ enlivening biodiversity credits to incentivise investment into biodiversity. AMEC has highlighted concerns with Federal/State tenure, opportunities to overlay with carbon offsets, and the need for mineral explorers to be able to access land.
The Safeguard Mechanism Reforms were consulted upon, and then entered and passed Commonwealth Parliament. This new scheme will come into affect on 1 July. It will deliver on a Commonwealth Government election commitment to secure a 43% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
DCCEEW have also begun consultation on the national standards that form a part of the reforms to the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act. The first standard consulted upon was the Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). AMEC highlighted concerns with quality of definitions, the failure to explicitly elevate a significance test for assessments and the need for greater guidance. It is anticipated the Government will consult on a monthly basis for the next eight months on standards. The next to be circulated will be the Regional Planning Standard and the Offsets Standards. Both are important issues for our sector, and AMEC will provide comment through our Environment and Water Committee.
The Great Artesian Basin, a significant water resource for many operations, has had the associated programmes reviewed by DCCEEW. AMEC called for a standardised baseline assessment of the Basin and for greater equity between the legislative frameworks, both State and Commonwealth.
AMEC continues to engage with the Commonwealth Government on a range of consultations that are underway, such as the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Torre Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, the National Water Initiative, the Migration Strategy, and the National Battery Strategy.
Looking forward, AMEC is awaiting the Critical Minerals Strategy, which is anticipated in the second half of 2023. Australia recently signed an agreement with the USA for Australian critical minerals producers to be treated as domestic suppliers under the U.S. Defence Production Act. This may allow Australian companies access to the US Inflation Reduction Act 2021 and could boost investment in Australian operators. AMEC is seeking further details to share with members.
AMEC has made the following submissions on behalf of member companies:
DCCEEW – (Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water)
DISR – (Department for Industry, Science and Resources)
To learn more please contact Neil van Drunen on 0407 057 443.