Macfarlane skeptical of ‘fanciful’ forecast

Shadow Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane slams Budget in an exclusive interview with MINING DAILY.

The Federal Shadow Minister for Energy & Resources, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, is concerned that Australia’s growth forecast in the 2009 Federal Budget is ‘fanciful.’

Macfarlane told MINING DAILY yesterday that growth projections of four years at 4.5% growth off a recession will deliver a massive debt burden to a new generation of Australians.

“In terms of the growth figures forecast, you would have to view them on the basis of some skepticism,” Macfarlane said.

“Australia has never strung together more than two years of growth at 4.5% in the last 30 years.”

Macfarlane has also attacked the Government’s omission of a Flow Through Shares Scheme (FTSS) in the recently released Federal Budget.

“Miner-explorers particularly have been the hardest hit by the omission of the Flow Through Share Scheme,” he said.

“The Federal Government promised this in their election… and they haven’t delivered it again this year.

“In that intervening period we have seen a very dramatic increase in the difficulty of raising funds and capital, and exploration is a very costly operation.

“It has been a major blow for them, and the word that we are getting back from the juniors is that they are bitterly disappointed.”

While state-based exploration incentives in South Australia and Western Australia have boosted exploration figures, exploration has been stripped from states without incentives, according to Macfarlane.

“Certainly what the states are doing is a boost; [However,] it’s only in those states, and those schemes would only serve to attract exploration … that may have gone to the Northern Territory or Queensland.

“The reality is… that exploration in Australia is falling, that is Greenfields exploration, and while there may be some bright spots in terms of capital value… they are still a long way from being able to raise capital for exploration, and that’s why the FTSS is so important.”

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