In the wake of Victoria's latest state budget, the state government has surprised pundits by committing itself to mining in the state.
The Victorian Government has announced it will spend $31.7 million over the next four years on programs designed to build and sustain its mining industry.
Energy and resources minister Nicholas Kotsiras said more than $19 million of the funding will be used to "reinvigorate the State's mining industry by driving a new wave of exploration and reducing barriers to investment".
“Mining has a proud tradition of contributing to the Victorian economy and society and the Coalition Government is determined to ensure it has a vibrant future,” Kotsiras said.
“Our vision is for a strong and prosperous mining industry that delivers jobs and investment in regional Victoria and makes a significant contribution to the economy while respecting the rights of landholders and protecting the environment.”
In addition to this around $4.2 million will be spent on solving mine stability risks at Latrobe Valley coal mines.
Kotsiras said this funding will speed up work on specific projects.
"The Coalition Government is boosting resourcing to make sure action is taken quickly to address the most urgent mine stability risks in the Latrobe Valley,” Kotsiras said.
“The Coalition Government is already working to improve the management of mine stability risks and with this funding we are stepping up our efforts to reduce the risk of failures at mines that could affect infrastructure, public amenity and private property.
“This $4.2 million will be spent on dealing with the most urgent mine stability issues and building the Coalition Government’s capacity to identify and respond to mine stability risks.”
The announcement was welcomed by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).
“The state government is taking a long-term approach to its budget and policy development which is welcomed and encouraged by AMEC," the group's CEO Simon Bennison stated.
“This announcement highlights that the state government is taking the current need for greenfields exploration very seriously.
“AMEC looks forward to reviewing the Government’s response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Greenfield’s Exploration and Mineral Development in Victoria, which is due to be released shortly."
Victoria is home to one of the world's brown coal reserves.