A critical industry with potential to deliver much-needed new private investment in regional Victoria barely rates a mention in Victoria’s 2017-18 State Budget.

The potential for development of the state’s minerals resources to drive growth and high value skilled jobs in regional communities is well-recognised in other parts of Australia.

Yet it remains missing from the Andrews Government’s list of priority industries.

Turning prospectivity into new projects, jobs and investment requires decisive action to reposition Victoria as an attractive destination for global minerals investment.

With the gap between regional and urban Victoria widening, it is remiss of the Andrews Government to ignore the potential presented by development of the state’s mineral sands, gold, coal and other minerals resources.

While ongoing targeted investments in geoscience and exploration are welcome, they are not enough to counter global perceptions that Victoria is ‘closed for business’.  

As a first step, minerals development should be elevated to recognition as a priority sector, opening new avenues for project facilitation and trade and investment support in Victoria.

It is, however, pleasing to see the inclusion in today’s budget of $42.5 million over four years on the Victorian Gas Program which aims to understand Victoria’s gas prospectivity and issues associated with onshore conventional gas exploration.

MCA Victoria urges the Victorian Government to devote similar attention to examination of the state’s unconventional gas resources. Ultimately, the Government needs to lift its moratoria on exploration for both conventional and unconventional gas resources – a scientific, evidence-based evaluation of all of Victoria’s onshore resources is essential.

Like other energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries, Australia’s mining and minerals processing industry depends on cost-competitive and secure energy, including gas.  

Download complete article