Rio Tinto’s head of exploration, Stephen McIntosh, made some comments in the Weekend Australian about mineral exploration in Australia. These are concerning and fully supported by ANDEV.
Governments need to listen. They have a responsibility to create a policy setting that encourages exploration continuing through the ups and now downs of the commodity and economic cycles, bearing in mind at all times that Australia needs to be cost competitive so it can export its products.
Particularly this means that here in Australia, governments need to clean up the current complexity in the myriad of corporate and environmental regulations and onerous compliance. This thick intertwining web of regulations makes even getting exploration approved, let alone a mine based project approved, very very difficult.
Compared to other countries we have become a growing nest of costly and time consuming onerous government burdens, making a non-level playing field that is too difficult for small and small to medium players.
Investments are discouraged and it means regional areas left to struggle, fewer support industry jobs are created and less taxation is generated for public services and to pay back Australia’s record debt. This is not helpful for those on lower incomes.
As often the exploration and mines are located in Northern Australia, this has a disproportionate negative impact on its development.
ANDEV calls for urgent action by all governments across Australia to make Australia, and especially Northern Australia, attractive for exploration and mining – things that have always led to community based economic development and raising of living standards for Australians.
Imants Kins B.Ec MA
ANDEV (Australians For Northern Development & Economic Vision)