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How your organisation can benefit from government incentives now

Eager to support business and protect jobs, governments at all levels have introduced measures and benefits for businesses. While there are many general benefits, like JobKeeper, that have been offered to many businesses, state governments are now offering opportunities to benefit specific industries and sectors including energy and resources. 

In Queensland, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy are encouraging development in the sector by opening or re-opening the tender process for several exploration programs. Some explorations projects were halted earlier in the year as they were considered a non-essential service, but the state is keen to get them moving again. These include:

  • Two coal exploration areas in the Bowen Basin that are open for tender until 25 June 2020; and
  • 12 petroleum and gas exploration areas across the Bowen and Surat Basins that are now open for tender until 9 July 2020.

The tenders still require the successful applicants to comply with land access and native title requirements and obtain necessary approvals before commencing exploration.

Queensland has also announced further measures to encourage existing exploration projects to progress. This includes:

  • waiving exploration land rent for 12 months
  • freezing fees and charges until 1 July 2021
  • bringing forward $2.8m funding for innovative exploration grants in the North West Minerals Province

With similar sentiment, the NSW government has announced that it will fast-track the approval of 24 projects to encourage employment and development. While many of the projects involve construction and recyclable waste, opportunities for the energy sector include: 

  • $4.6b for Snowy 2.0 that will provide large-scale energy storage and quick-start electricity generation; and
  • $285m to TransGrid to enable safe, reliable and affordable electricity supply in Sydney.  

The government is fast-tracking the assessment, development applications and any rezoning within four weeks so the projects can commence within the next six months. The intention is to announce additional tranches of infrastructure projects in the coming weeks and months to kickstart broad-scale economic activity. 

Western Australia (WA) has also focused on infrastructure projects by updating its Market-led Proposals Policy. The policy provides an avenue for the private sector to make unsolicited proposals to government for infrastructure projects, to provide goods or services or to purchase a government-owned asset. The update is aimed at ensuring that projects are closely aligned to the government’s priorities to stimulate the state’s economy and create jobs in the long-term. 

The policy has also now introduced a First Mover Advantage. If a proposal is unique and meets the requirements of the First Mover Advantage proponents can match a competitive bid or receive a bid premium. This offers significant opportunities for large and innovative proposals to be put before the government. 

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) in WA is also simplifying administrative procedures by expanding electronic approaches for tenement applications and other approvals. This reduces or eliminates the need to lodge physical documents and provide wet signatures. The process makes it easier to continue to operate businesses during these times. 

Export opportunities for mining equipment, technology and services (METS) in regional Victoria and Western Australia are also set to increase with the establishment of the Victorian METS Export Hub and Digital Mining Export Hub in WA. Established by Austmine and funded by grants from the Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Technology and Victoria’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, the Victorian hub will offer support for METS businesses to develop export capabilities and connect with global customers. The businesses most likely to benefit are those involved in mining innovations including advanced manufacturing, underground mine development, minerals processing, mine rehabilitation and remediation. 
In WA, the initiative is partially funded by the State’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and will focus on building digital mining capability network.  

These initiatives are part of the first wave of opportunities that are being offered to encourage the sector to continue to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. How they perform and how the global and local economy recovers will dictate what further opportunities may be made available in the short and long-term.

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