Resources sector says Queensland budget lacks funding for exploration
Key mining, oil and gas groups say they are disappointed at the distinct lack of funding for exploration in the 2016-17 Queensland budget, handed down on Tuesday.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Queensland director Chris Lamont said investment in exploration was crucial for the future of the industry.
“We need to invest more in some seismic work and some geological work, potentially some more assistance for some of the smaller explorers to get out there and do what they do best,” he said.
“We also need to look at existing areas of activity to see what additional exploration needs to be done.”
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) also was disappointed there was little funding for exploration and discovery.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche said he was particularly upset there was not any specific funding for the Geological Survey of Queensland, and added he hoped it was an oversight.
“We can’t afford to drop the ball on discovery of new minerals and energy deposits,” he said.
“It simply means that unexplored and under-explored regions of Queensland will continue to languish, and other states will do a better job of attracting investment in exploration and of course other countries.”
QRC welcomes some positives, but wants more action on reform
Mr Roche said he while he welcomed the additional resources in the budget for the land court, what he really wanted was an overhaul and he would like to see it as a top priority.
“The Treasurer has written to me separately today saying that he is open to continuing the dialogue with Queensland Resources Council on some reform proposals,” he said.
The QRC chief said time was critical in these matters, and the organisation would “like to see that action before the end of the year”.
Mr Roche said he was pleased there was no increase in royalties and no obvious other increases in taxes or charges.
“The budget is banking on receiving again well over $2 billion in royalties, and over the four years of the forward estimates over $9 billion, so the resources sector is continuing to deliver a lot of money to fund services in Queensland,” he said.
Mr Roche said he congratulated the Treasurer on agreeing to partner QRC on the Jails to Jobs proposal, which he said would see $1.3 million for a pilot program transitioning 30 Indigenous offenders from prison to employment.
“So we’ll be working with our companies to identify job opportunities, and the State Government’s budget allocation will provide support for those Indigenous people so that they can stay the course in employment so that they don’t return to jail.”
Revenue via oil and gas significantly revised down
Mr Lamont said while the value of LNG to the Queensland economy had been revised down, it remained a significant contribution.
“The Treasurer announced that for 15-16 there would be $36 million expected and that’s a write-down, and largely reflects the significant decline that we’ve seen in the Brent Oil Price,” he said.
Mr Lamont said it was far less than the projected revenue, and nobody was more disappointed than the sector itself.
“With any cycle in the economy, particularly the commodity price cycle, we need to understand that these are indeed long-term projects, and just like the agriculture sector sometimes suffer from terms of trade, so does the resources sector,” he said.