Media Releases


STATE BUDGET EXPLORATION FUNDING - A WELCOME PARTNERSHIP APPROACH

The Minerals Council of Australia, Victorian Division welcomes the Victorian Government’s plan to unlock the state’s mineral potential to be announced in tomorrow’s state budget. The proposal to allocate $15 million to the TARGET initiative to drive minerals exploration through a grants system for industry co-funded drilling and surveying will help develop Victoria’s significant mineral endowment.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: GREENS WANT TO CUT DIESEL FUEL REBATE FOR MINING

In news that will shock no-one, the Australian Greens have again called for the Fuel Tax Credit scheme to be abolished for Australia’s mining industry. The Greens have been seeking to abolish the FTC scheme (formerly known as the Diesel Fuel Rebate) for the mining sector since their inception. It is a policy based on ideological prejudice rather than merit. Fuel excise was applied to diesel used on-road in the late 1950s as a specific charge to cover the cost of public road building and maintenance. The excise does not apply to diesel used off road, in power generation or heavy equipment in a range of sectors including agriculture, construction, mining, health and aged care services. Further, the fuel excise scheme is designed to ensure that taxation is not applied to a business input. This same fundamental tax policy principle underpins the GST. The Greens cannot find a single authoritative voice to back their proposal to overturn decades of accepted tax practice. Importantly, neither the Commonwealth Treasury nor the Productivity Commission considers the fuel excise scheme a subsidy. To date, the Greens have been the only political grouping that wants the scheme abolished for mining. The party’s push to up-end long held tax principles should be ignored. The minerals sector is already making a major contribution to tax revenue. On top of the $20 billion in corporate tax and royalties paid last year, the minerals sector is facing the brunt of new tax measures announced in 2013 that will raise $3.7 billion over the next 4 years.

Joint Statement on the Options Paper on Coastal Shipping Reform

The Australian Government has rightly taken a national interest approach in its review of the rules governing ship movements around our coast – rules that are adding unnecessary costs and making us uncompetitive. The government’s Options Paper on Coastal Shipping Regulation recognises the Coastal Trading Act is not working in the interests of the Australian economy and that shipping rules need major reform if we are to lift our global competitiveness and minimise costs. We must acknowledge that our coastal shipping laws have become a major competitiveness problem for Australia and will impact on jobs. The options included in the review, ranging from an ‘open coast’ approach by repealing the Coastal Trading Act to significantly reducing restrictions on trade within the Act, are appropriate for a meaningful national discussion on the future of this important sector. Removing regulation that is stifling the coastal shipping sector can lift Australia’s global competitiveness and grow opportunities for investment, exports and jobs, particularly in regional areas which are disproportionately burdened by high-cost shipping. The consultation process now offers all stakeholders an opportunity to make the case for coastal shipping policies that are in Australia’s best long-term interests, and we look forward to engaging in that process.

MCA - NORTHERN TERRITORY WELCOMES PROGRESS ON GREEN TAPE REFORM

The proposed agreement to streamline environmental assessments in the Northern Territory is warmly welcomed by the minerals industry. The minerals industry has long advocated the need to streamline the project approvals processes between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments, while maintaining high levels of environmental protection. The Commonwealth Government’s commitment to establish standards for environmental protection consistent with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act while devolving assessment and approvals functions to the states and territories, with appropriate checks and balances in place, achieves this goal. This does not reduce protection for the environment, but significantly improves the efficiency of Australia’s project approvals process. It also carries the potential for improved environmental outcomes through freeing resources for better data, administration and enforcement capabilities. An audit for the Minerals Council of Australia by environmental and economic consultants URS comparing approvals laws in 2006 and today shows there has been more than 120 changes to state and federal government approvals laws and supporting legislation.
The audit shows there have been six new pieces of legislation, six replacement Acts and more than 60 sets of amendments to approvals laws; and 50 sets of additions and amendments to subordinate legislation, regulations and codes of practice.
If Australia is to maximise the return from the millennium mining boom, we must stop placing regulatory roadblocks in the path of economic growth.

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