Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson has outlined his vision for the Australian minerals industry.
During an address to the Minerals Council of Australia’s Minerals Industry Seminar recently, Minister Ferguson noted that we are in the midst of one of the strongest resources booms since the 1960s, with ABARE forecasting that robust world economic growth will provide a strong foundation for energy and mineral commodity demand into the future.
However, for the recent growth to continue, the Australian Government must work with industry and other stakeholders to sustain the performance of the resources industry for the long term.
“There are a number of measures the Australian Government can take to maximise and prolong the current resources boom, especially in the areas of skilled migration, skills and labour shortages, infrastructure, energy market reform, clean coal, climate change, safety and health and supporting Indigenous communities,” Minister Ferguson explained.
“That said, there is no one model for infrastructure solutions, as these must be tailored to the specific commodity issues and locality: That’s why we are contributing to a range of initiatives through the Council of Australian Governments, including a National Infrastructure Audit, which will identify Australia’s national infrastructure priorities.”
In the area of energy market reform, Minister Ferguson noted that Australia needs significant investment in energy infrastructure to meet the needs of its growing economy and resources sector.
“To enhance the investment climate, government is working on a significant reform program to improve the efficient operation of Australia’s gas and electricity markets. A major focus of that reform program is the development of a national legislative regime for electricity and gas.”
In the area of climate change Minister Ferguson noted that the Rudd Government is committed to introducing a domestic emissions trading scheme that is effective, fair, economically responsible and internationally consistent, and that “the Emissions Trading Scheme design will address the competitive challenges facing emission-intensive trade exposed industries in Australia.”
Minister Ferguson also noted the government is committed to Supporting Indigenous Communities. “Under our Working in Partnership Program, the Government continues to develop and promote open and honest dialogue about the issues of primary concern to industry and Indigenous stakeholders in the main mining regions around Australia.”