October 2018

Securing the future of our resources sector

  • By Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Australia’s Resources 2030 Taskforce is focused on how Australia can build community support and a wider understanding of the value of the resources sector.

At the start of August, Australia’s Resources 2030 Taskforce presented its findings and recommendations to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan.

The ten-member taskforce, appointed by Minister Canavan in late March 2018, recommended bold reforms to ensure Australia’s resources sector remains globally competitive and sustainable to 2030 and beyond.

The Australian Government will use the taskforce’s recommendations as a basis to develop a National Resources Statement to be released by the Minister at the end of 2018. The recommendations are part of the Resources 2030 Taskforce report that was released publicly in late September.

The resources sector remains Australia’s second largest industry – it accounts for almost a tenth of Australia’s GDP and over half of the country’s exports. To stay ahead of the game and secure our competitiveness, Minister Canavan reiterated that Australia needs to develop new ways of working, new ideas and new technologies.

‘This is the first time since the late 1990s that the Australian Government has mapped out a policy statement for the sector, which will allow us to better deal with changes in technology and community expectations so we can remain competitive and capture new opportunities,’ Minister Canavan said.

‘The Australian Government is committed to supporting a world-class resources sector and to achieve this we need the right industry settings and policy framework.

‘A successful resources policy will mean more jobs; more opportunities for Australian businesses to succeed on the global stage; and more flow-on benefits to other businesses and industries in regional Australia.

‘By working closely with Australian and international companies, using our research capability and engaging communities, Australia can build an even stronger resources industry.’

Consulting with the sector

Since April 2018, the Resources 2030 Taskforce has examined how we can ensure Australia’s resource sector retains its position as a world-leading resources producer and exporter.

It has focused on how Australia can build community support and wider understanding of the value of the resources sector, and how we make the most of our resources before they are exported. It has also examined ways business processes could be simplified for resource companies, resources investment can be strengthened and new resource discoveries encouraged.

The taskforce Chair consulted with state and territory governments and industry peak bodies. The taskforce also conducted targeted roundtables on the following topics:

  • resources investment
  • community engagement
  • exploration and business development
  • innovation and technology
  • environmental performance.

Members of the taskforce

The taskforce members bring a wide range of skills, experiences and perspectives to the table.

  • Chaired by Andrew Cripps, Queensland’s former Minister for Natural Resources, the other nine
    members are:
  • Mike Henry, President Operations, Minerals Australia, BHP
  • Joyce McCulloch, Mayor, Mount Isa City Council
  • Chris Pigram, former CEO of Geoscience Australia
  • Will Robinson, Managing Director, Encounter Resources Limited
  • Erica Smyth AC, Chair, NOPSEMA Advisory Board
  • Paul Flynn, CEO and Managing Director, Whitehaven Coal
  • Marcia Langton, Foundation Chair, Australian Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne
  • Adrienne Rourke, General Manager, Resource Industry Network
  • Stephen Smith, Professor of International Law, University of Western Australia.

The work of the taskforce is supported by a secretariat from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Left to right: Prof. Stephen Smith, Ms Erica Smyth AC, Dr Chris Pigram, Ms Adrienne Rourke, Mr Will Robinson, Ms Joyce McCulloch, Mayor, Mount Isa City Council, Mr Andrew Cripps (taskforce chair), Prof. Marcia Langton, Mr Mike Henry, Mr Paul Flynn.
Left to right: Prof. Stephen Smith, Ms Erica Smyth AC, Dr Chris Pigram, Ms Adrienne Rourke, Mr Will Robinson, Ms Joyce McCulloch, Mayor, Mount Isa City Council, Mr Andrew Cripps (taskforce chair), Prof. Marcia Langton, Mr Mike Henry, Mr Paul Flynn.

Securing our competitive position

As global demand for Australia’s precious commodities increases, Australia needs to move quickly.

‘Our resources have never been as important to the Australian and wider global economy as they are now,’ Minister Canavan said.

‘Our digital, global world relies on a more diverse variety of minerals for a greater range of products than any other time.

‘For example, 18 of the more than 25 minerals and metals that go into the creation of a mobile phone are produced in Australia. There are 16 minerals and metals that go into the manufacturing of a solar panel, and Australia produces ten of them.’ Taskforce chair Andrew Cripps agreed.

‘Australia has a very competitive resources sector at the moment, and this taskforce was designed to look forward and identify the reform initiatives governments and industry need to undertake to ensure that competitiveness is secured into the future,’ Mr Cripps said.

‘One of the main challenges confronting the sector at this point is securing investment in a competitive global resources environment where capital is very mobile.

‘We need to ensure our community has confidence in the resources industry. Australian state and territory governments’ regulatory arrangements play an important role in this.

‘Utilising technology to find new resources to secure a pipeline of future projects is another challenge for us. We need to keep working hard to harness the power of Australia’s smart and skilled workforce to drive productivity right through the supply chain.’

Mr Cripps said the transition to increasing levels of automation in the industry was an opportunity for the sector.

‘As we transition to greater automation, there will be a range of new and different types of jobs in the resources sector,’ he said.

‘From automation on mine sites to new and advanced technology used in energy projects, Australian workers will need to be appropriately skilled.

‘With new technology also comes the identification of new resources, so it is an exciting time for this sector and we need to position ourselves to seize those opportunities.’

Mr Cripps said he saw Australia’s environmental performance in the resources sector as a growth opportunity.

‘Australia has excellent regulatory and legislative processes that minimise the environmental footprint of the resources sector.

‘There’s a clear recognition of a great track record in this area and I believe that that will continue to be the case.

‘Our reputation in mining and energy resources is important in terms of our competitiveness as a supplier to the world, and also in terms of the sector maintaining the confidence of the local communities in which the industries operate and with the wider Australian community.

‘Our taskforce report and the National Resources Statement that will follow are forward-looking initiatives by Minister Canavan.

‘They are the tools which will help our resources sector maintain its resilience and ability to meeting any challenges which come its way.

‘We will bring forward what the Minister has described as bold but attainable reforms for the sector to secure its competitiveness and sustainability to 2030 and beyond.’

The Resources 2030 Taskforce report is available at www.industry.gov.au/strategies-for-the-future/resources-2030-taskforce.

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