Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) is pushing the federal government to introduce reforms to protect the minerals industry and fast track Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery.
The reforms are part of the MCA’s priorities to accelerate economic recovery in the sector.
The MCA has weighed heavy emphasis on the mining industry’s major contributions to the country’s economy, declaring that projects need to be fast-track to increase regional jobs and investment.
“Our world-leading minerals companies are hampered by regulatory duplication and overlap, while projects take too long to be approved – denying regional communities jobs and investment,” MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said.
“Expediting environmental assessments and approvals, reforming greenfields agreements and expanding incentives for exploration will also help realise and refresh the potential pipeline of new and expanding mining projects.”
The MCA suggests Australia could be looking at a $100 billion investment pipeline of coal, iron ore, base metal, critical mineral and gold projects, plus ‘tens of billions of spending’ which will keep the industry afloat.
Constable stressed that Australia cannot afford to fall behind other mining nations who are looking to take a larger slice of the pie as the world recovers from the pandemic.
“In this context, Australia’s company tax rate of 30 per cent is too high and not internationally competitive,” she said.
“Future mining investment should not be put at risk by any move to increase the already high burden on the sector. In particular, the fuel tax credit scheme, which operates to avoid taxing a vital business input, should remain in its current form.”
Australia’s mining sector presented record highs in company taxes and royalties during the 2018-19 financial year, cashing out $39.3 billion in total.
As other industries crumble from the pandemic, the MCA expects many to jump ship to the minerals sector, which will require new skills and training.
Skills and training needs will require a particular focus, including retraining and reskilling entrants from other industries affected by COVID-19,” Constable said.
“While world economic growth is expected to contract sharply in 2020, the industry’s ability to keep operating through the COVID-19 crisis has positioned it strongly to take advantage of the global recovery and the ongoing resources demand of developing economies.”