Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has urged mining stakeholders to continue supporting the sector as it focusses on becoming a more sustainable industry.
In a speech to the Australian Industry Group, Frydenberg said dialogue with mining executives and stakeholders was increasingly centred on strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.
“Climate risk has become one of the key issues raised in my discussions with CEOs, investors and counterparts, here and overseas,” he said.
“And it is no different for boards and executives of Australian firms in their discussions with global investors.”
The Treasurer said the transition to clean energy would be a long-term target rather than a “short-term shock.”
He emphasised that this was the only option for an industry which, naturally, has been a significant producer of emissions in the past.
“It is wrong to assume that traditional sectors, like resources and agriculture, will face decline over the course of the transition,” Frydenberg said.
“To the contrary, many businesses in these sectors are at the cutting edge of innovation and technological change.”
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable endorsed Frydenberg’s speech, reiterating the message that Australia is more than just a hotspot for valuable resources.
“Australia is the leading mining jurisdiction in the world. This is not just due to our outstanding natural resources, but built on the hard work of our people, solid partnerships with communities, investment in infrastructure and skills and government policies that promote a profitable and sustainable sector to encourage investment,” Constable said.
Companies like BHP and Fortescue Metals Group received a mention in Frydenberg’s speech, referencing the transformation of some of Australia’s largest and most influential mining companies.
Both companies have implemented net-zero emission targets, with Fortescue committing over $1 billion to produce renewable green hydrogen for steel-making purposes.
Frydenberg concluded with a message for banks, superannuation funds and insurers.
“If you support the objective of net zero, do not walk away from the very sectors of our economy that will need investment to successfully transition,” he said.
“Climate change and its impacts are not going away.
“It represents a structural and systemic shift in our financial system, which will only gain pace over time.
“For Australia, this presents risks we must manage and opportunities we must seize.
“That work is well underway, but there is still more to do.”