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The States continue to invest in the industry

As a testament to the importance of the energy and resources industry to the economy and job growth, State governments continue to invest in the industry as part of their COVID-19 recovery plans

The States continue to invest in the industry

As a testament to the importance of the energy and resources industry to the economy and job growth, State governments continue to invest in the industry as part of their COVID-19 recovery plans. 

Queensland has led the charge announcing a $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund. The Fund will support the development of the resources sector while helping Queensland to reach its target of 50% renewable energy by 2030. 

As its name suggests, the focus of the Fund is on creating jobs while continuing to develop pathways for clean energy. With the International Energy Agency forecasting demand for clean energy minerals quadrupling by 2040, Queensland wants to ensure it maximises its opportunities. It has highlighted cobalt, copper, scandium, vanadium, bauxite and alumina as key resources required to power batteries, electric vehicles and solar panels. The State already has significant investments in these areas - in 2020 it produced 220,500 tonnes of copper - but new opportunities continue to emerge. 

The Queensland Government has also opened up the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan for consultation. The industry employs 71,000 people and communities and businesses are all invited to provide their input into the plan. It is expected that a draft plan will be released later in the year. 

Western Australia already has in place several significant initiatives to develop the resources sector, but it continues to expand its commitment to the industry. The Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia has opened up its Net Zero Emission Mining challenge with $1 million to develop new ways of working and transform how energy is generated and used. There are three areas of focus for the challenge; data-driven challenges, mining and processing technology and energy utilisation. 

The Western Australian Government has invested a further $500,000 to the CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow program. This is a free program that encourages small to medium businesses to develop solutions for zero emission mining. Grants of up to $50,000 match funding provided by the private sector towards research.  

Taking a different approach, Victoria is set to restart the onshore conventional gas industry. It is important to note that this will not include fracking or coal seam gas, both of which are now illegal in Victoria. For the past three years the State’s onshore petroleum regulatory framework has been reviewed by the Victorian Gas Program and found that the industry will not adversely affect Victoria’s environment or agriculture industry. The industry is expected to deliver significant jobs growth to Gippsland and South West Victoria.  

Interim regulations extend previous provisions and a new regulatory framework is now underway. This will guide explorers and developers on how to engage the community in their project plans. Earth Resources Regulation has already inspected existing onshore conventional gas sites to ensure they are compliant with existing safeguards. 

In addition, the Victorian Government has provided Earth Resources Regulation with $10.6 million to ensure mineral exploration applications are delivered in a timely and efficient manner and enable legislative and regulatory improvements. A further $13.4 million has been provided to the Geological Survey of Victoria to attract new investment and demand for minerals. 

South Australia is focused on opportunities in critical minerals by pledging $4.5 million to the Accelerated Discovery Initiative. This will be used to fund a wide range of projects from drilling and exploration to logistics and indigenous employment. The projects support activities and innovative technologies to generate and test new exploration ideas and accelerate data sets to enable data sharing in the sector. It also aims to foster meaningful employment of indigenous Australians and ensure they play a larger role in the effort to decarbonise the industry. 

These initiatives all play an important role in increasing opportunities in the sector for both individuals and business alike.

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