The government recognises the importance of a clear resources policy framework that provides a vision, goals and principles to guide action.
We recognise that successful resources developments take a shared commitment from all governments. Very few projects operate under a sole jurisdiction or set of regulations.
This framework and the associated actions will position Australia well for the coming decades.
Our vision is to have the world’s most advanced, innovative and successful resources sector which delivers sustained prosperity and social development for all Australians.
The government will pursue five policy goals to meet its vision:
- Deliver the most globally attractive and competitive investment destination for resources projects.
- Develop new resources, industries and markets.
- Invest in new technologies and approaches, especially to deliver better environmental outcomes.
- Create well paid, secure jobs.
- Support communities to ensure they receive benefits from the development of Australian resources.
These goals are deliberately ambitious and of equal importance - none have priority, or are subordinate, to the others.
Meeting these goals will require commitment and collaboration from all governments and the broader resources sector. With strong actions to back them, each goal will ensure the sector is competitive and sustainable for the long term.
Our policy principles
Today’s policy environment in some respects makes it more challenging to deliver on these goals. Technological change is rapidly disrupting the way business is done in the resources sector, and the rise of social media has put business practices into a harsher spotlight.
Accordingly, it is important the government maps out core principles that it will seek to remain true to, while pursuing the above goals towards the vision of becoming the world’s best resources nation.
- Australia’s national resources wealth belongs to the Australian people and should be developed for their benefit. In particular, the development of resources should contribute to public revenues and provide business and employment opportunities to remote Australia and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- New policies and regulations should be based on robust science and account for the needs and interests of the broader community, especially the communities where the resources sector operates.
- Foreign investment remains an important vehicle to develop Australia’s resources.
- We must embrace technological change to remain competitive, responsive and improve environmental outcomes.
The future success of Australia’s resources sector relies on working smarter, safer, cleaner and more efficiently than our competitors. We must identify new resources, enhance workforce skills, manage environmental impacts more effectively and gain support across the broad spectrum of communities.
Delivering this success will not be achieved by government acting alone. However, the government recognises that its approach can have a major bearing on the success of the resources sector. The rest of this statement maps out some specific actions the government intends to take to help position Australia’s resources sector to be the best in the world.
“Governments and industry should better promote Australia’s resource export capabilities, with a focus on its strengths in the environmental management and restoration economy, the resources equipment, technology and services sector and higher education.”
This framework recognises technological disruption will be at the heart of traditional business models where:
- Future growth is expected to come from the increased use of data and analytics, artificial intelligence coupled with automation and robotics, the deployment of advanced extraction techniques and the commercialisation of specialist technologies.
- The ability to harness new innovations and technologies, which Australia is well placed to lead, will have the potential to improve the safety, productivity and competitiveness of the sector over the coming decades and to provide a range of exportable products and services.
- Innovative and collaborative approaches will be central to addressing sector-wide challenges and opportunities. This will be enabled by planning and prioritising strategic, long-term research and development to identify and commercialise new solutions.
- The rise of social media, evolving community expectations and rapid digital information dissemination platforms will require the sector to work differently to earn the trust of citizens and communities. Only a sector that has the support of the community to operate will prosper.
This framework also recognises business and policy frameworks, and regulatory settings fundamentally affect the cost of doing business in Australia and our commercial attractiveness, and ultimately the sector’s ability to grow and succeed.
- The regulatory framework for mining and petroleum activities in Australia is presently complex, with a large variety of state and federal legislation, standards and processes including a plethora of statutes and agencies regulating the industry.
- To capture new capital and investment for growth in all areas of the economy, Australia needs competitive business settings that are continually benchmarked, updated and improved to enhance regulatory consistency and reduce unnecessary compliance costs and regulatory duplication.
Business elements of particular importance for the sector are taxation, infrastructure, energy and effective, efficient and transparent regulatory frameworks that facilitate timely and predictable project approvals. Other important elements include exploration, skills, communities, safety and the environment.
Environmental stewardship and reducing the environmental footprint of resources projects will also be an important focus of the framework if Australia is to remain the world’s premier resources nation. New technologies, techniques and processes will be key to improving the environmental performance of the sector, including reducing industry emissions.