Federal budget: resources comes through for Australia

29 March 2022

Queensland’s $84.3 billion resources sector has helped inoculate the Australian economy from the worst effects of Covid and will play an equally important role in supplying the nation’s ongoing energy needs, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said tonight’s federal budget made it crystal clear how crucial the resources sector has been to Australia’s continued economic growth, jobs and the budget bottom line.

“The recent strength in export commodity prices will still see Australia’s terms of trade reach a record high in 2021-22, thanks to the stellar export efforts of mining, petroleum and agriculture – the top three drivers of the Queensland economy,” he said.

The QRC has also welcomed the Federal Government’s focus on gas storage and transport infrastructure investments.

Mr Macfarlane said the government’s commitment to developing a reliable supply of domestic gas for Australian manufacturers will help lower domestic gas prices and make it easier for manufacturers to secure long-term supply agreements.

“It’s great to see four of the seven gas infrastructure projects identified as critical by the Federal Government are in Queensland, which is indicative of how much heavy lifting our producers have been doing to increase Australia’s domestic gas supply,” he said.

“In these times of growing geopolitical uncertainty, there’s tangible value in having local supply chains, and having a strong domestic manufacturing sector will help insulate the Australian economy from the supply risks associated with imports.”

Mr Macfarlane said the Federal Government’s new gas infrastructure investments fit in well with the Queensland Government’s existing domestic gas tenures to accelerate the production and supply of domestic gas in Queensland.

“The QRC congratulates both governments for working strategically to deliver a reliable and consistent supply of domestic gas for Australian manufacturing,” he said.

“The funding for feasibility work on pipelines to carry carbon dioxide from Gladstone to secure storage sites inland in the Surat and Cooper Basin is also welcome news.

“This will accelerate opportunities to reduce emissions associated with hydrogen production and other new economy manufacturing opportunities in Gladstone by safely storing away the carbon dioxide.

“Leveraging Queensland’s energy expertise to develop these future sources of clean energy will enable downstream economic growth opportunities right across the Australian economy.”

The resource sector is also helping drive record low unemployment rates projected in tonight’s Budget.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of resources jobs in Queensland has grown by 12 per cent in the two years since the COVID pandemic began.

Other budget initiatives welcomed by the QRC include:

  • An additional $1 billion in funding for the Great Barrier Reef, taking the total past $3 billion;
  • An extra $2 billion in funding for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to take the total to $7 billion;
  • $200 million over 5 years for the Critical Mineral Accelerator Initiative to support strategically significant critical mineral projects in their planning, design, pilot and demonstration phases;
  • $50.5 million over three years for a virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Centre;
  • $100 million to extend the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive to support explorers to undertake vital greenfield mineral exploration across Australia, bringing total investment to $200 million;
  • 220,000 Australians are now in a trade apprenticeship with $2.8 billion to increase take-up and completion rates;
  • A new $1.3 billion telecommunications package to expand mobile coverage across 8,000km of regional transport routes; and a
  • $480 million boost to NBN funding in regional, remote and rural areas.