Meeting global demand to deliver jobs, economic growth

29 March 2022

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government is committed to ensuring the long-term future of the nation’s water, resources and energy sector, which is forecast to contribute a record $379 billion in exports this financial year.

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said measures in the 2022-23 Budget worth more than $250 million would build stronger regions and strengthen our critical minerals sector to become more globally competitive. 

“Australia possesses extraordinary reserves of the critical minerals crucial to many industries including medical equipment production, defence, aerospace, automotive and agritech,” Minister Pitt said.

“Through these Budget measures, we are delivering long-term support to the resources and energy sector, which creates jobs and growth opportunities, especially in regional Australia. That means a stronger economy and a stronger future for regional Australia.

“These new initiatives build on previous Budget measures to help resource companies gain entry to new export markets and unlock vast gas reserves.”

RESOURCES

The resources and energy industry already directly employs over 270,000 Australians and export earnings continue to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is taking action to grow Australia’s critical minerals sector and expand into downstream processing, positioning Australia at the heart of global supply chains for technologies ranging from mobile phones to fighter jets.

“Australia is responding to global demand for gas and critical minerals with our large reserves, technical expertise and a track record as a reliable and responsible supplier,” Minister Pitt said. 

“We have the potential to do so much more and we are taking action to ensure Australia’s critical minerals sector goes from strength to strength.”

The 2022-23 Budget measures include:

  • $200 million over five years for the Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative. The program will accelerate the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector, by supporting early to mid stage critical minerals projects that align with the Critical Minerals Strategy to overcome technical and market barriers. 
  • $50.5 million over three years for a virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Centre which will build Australian capability in critical minerals processing, target technical bottlenecks in strategic supply chains, and drive breakthrough collaborative research. 

This is in addition to the $294.2 million already committed by the Government to resources and critical minerals jobs and skills through the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

These 2022-23 Budget measures build on previous budget commitments including:

  • $20 million to deliver the Global Resources Strategy to improve access to key export markets; 
  • Over $300 million in Strategic Basin Plans initiatives to unlock and accelerate the development of our vast gas reserves in the Beetaloo, Cooper-Adavale, North Bowen and Galilee Basins;
  • $124.5 million to fund an expanded Exploring for the Future Program to improve our understanding of the nation’s minerals, energy and groundwater resource potential; and
  • $100 million to extend the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive to support our junior explorers to undertake vital greenfield mineral exploration across Australia. This brings total investment in the JMEI to $200 million.


WATER

Putting Communities first

Minister Pitt said the 2022-23 Budget was making $140 million available to keep communities at the heart of the Basin Plan.

“We’re building on the successful Murray–Darling Communities Investment Package with a $97 million Healthy Rivers – Healthy Communities grant program,” Minister Pitt said.

“Healthy Rivers – Healthy Communities is a truly triple-bottom line program that makes grants of between $100,000 and $5 million available in the Murray–Darling Basin to build stronger and more vibrant regional economies and communities, improve the health of rivers and wetlands, and enhance environmental outcomes through targeted infrastructure investment.

“It will be available to community groups, the irrigation industry, Basin stakeholders and state governments to make real, lasting impacts in the Basin – a critically important region in Australia responsible for producing 40% of our food and fibre, providing a home to 2.3 million Australians and with 16 internationally significant wetlands.

“We’re also investing $2.6 million in a 12-month, independent, systematic, technical assessment of infrastructure in the southern Murray–Darling Basin to make sure we’re well placed to make decisions about the infrastructure of the future to improve water security for all water users and to help mitigate the impacts of floods and droughts on communities and the environment.

“We’re putting boots on the ground to enhance the Inspector General of Water Compliance’s ability to engage and inform communities about Basin water resource management providing an essential link between compliance actions and on-ground eyes and ears.

“We’re also investing $2.1 million in sensible, state-supported water market reform that will improve integrity and public confidence in water markets informed by recommendations from the ACCC’s Murray-Darling Basin Water Markets Inquiry.

“Through these measures, we’re providing the boost Basin communities need to generate jobs, economic activity and improve the health of rivers and wetlands while maintaining our commitment to achieving the water recovery required under the Basin Plan.

“The Morrison Government is also extending the popular On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme for another year to ensure existing funding allocations are available to support farmers right across Australia to build drought resilience.

“The extended scheme will help farmers install infrastructure like pumps, tanks, dams and bores through a rebate of up to 25% on eligible projects up to the value of $25,000.”