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Mining calling on government to seize once in a generation opportunity

Australia’s world-class mining industry is ideally placed to lead the globe’s efforts to decarbonise and achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

The world will require astronomical volumes of minerals and metals to achieve this goal. By 2030 alone, 50 new lithium mines, 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines to meet demand for electricity storage.

In its MCA pre-Budget submission 2023-24, the MCA is calling on the federal government to seize this once in a generation opportunity by providing the right business and regulatory environment to attract the estimated additional US$100 billion annually of global mining investment needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The economic opportunity this presents for Australia is significant, but not guaranteed.

Australia’s vulnerability to competition from resource-rich economies will only grow as they seek to seize the opportunity to supply the minerals and metals needed to achieve global net zero emissions.

To attract a significant proportion of this investment that will create tens of thousands of new regional jobs, business growth and investment should be placed at the centre of the government’s policymaking.

Current policy settings are putting at risk investment in mining.

Workplace relations, tax, environment, climate change and energy policies that impose unexpected costs on the mining industry threaten the capital investment that underpins its contribution to the economy and the global efforts to decarbonise.

Australia needs more investment along the entire mining value chain to boost the economy’s performance and play its part in the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. This will require:

  • No new or additional tax imposts on the industry and reducing the company tax rate to the OECD average for all businesses
  • Workplace relations rules that enable enterprises to work with employees to lift productivity and increase wages
  • Safeguard mechanism changes that achieve a sustainable reduction in emissions by 2030 while maintaining the international competitiveness of industry as part of an effective transition to net zero emissions by 2050
  • Project approvals that are timely, efficient and streamlined with state and territory processes, incentivising business investment while upholding high environmental standards
  • Government working with the industry to expand opportunities for trade and investment, including promoting Australian mining’s high environmental, social and governance performance
  • Government working with the industry to better target skills and deliver quality education and training to provide satisfy the industry’s workforce requirements
  • A coordinated approach across federal and state and territory governments to regulating transformative technologies to unlock the productivity gains from innovation.

Australia cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity it is presented with to maximise the economic potential of its minerals endowments.