Tuesday, 9 January 2024

Shadow Resources Minister, Senator Susan McDonald, has slammed a weak Prime Minister unable to control his Ministers from making bad decisions that have undermined our resources sector and put investments in new major projects under threat.

The warnings of the damage to investor confidence in the resources sector over the last 18 months caused by Labor policies are now supported by hard data released by the Government just before Christmas.

The recently released 2023 Resources and Energy Major Projects (REMP) annual report shows an 11.4 per cent drop in the number of major projects across our top three most valuable exports – iron ore, coal, and gas – currently in the investment pipeline, from 140 last year down to 124 this year.

Of these 124 projects, 72 are struggling to get off the ground – almost 60 per cent – having been delayed, stalled, unprogressed, shelved, cancelled, or dropped from the list altogether.

Senator McDonald said that this was proof that after 18 months of Labor’s hostile policies towards the resources sector, the industry was feeling the effects of being under siege and investors were looking elsewhere.

“Coal, gas and iron ore projects make up the top three exports in Australia, which generated $344 billion in export earnings in 2022-23. This is over 50 per cent of Australia’s total export earnings.

“Yet in this latest report, almost 60 per cent of current projects in the pipeline have not progressed or have gone backwards, which is a dire warning to the future of our resources sector.

“Throughout Labor’s term in Government, the resources sector has faced a number of attacks thanks to poor policies, which have severely undermined investor confidence and increased Australia’s sovereign risk.”

Senator McDonald pointed to the interventions in the gas market, poor regulatory clarity in offshore oil and gas, changing tax and royalty regimes, increased green-tape through new environmental agencies and the funding of anti-mining legal activists. 

Most recently the Government rammed through their industrial relations changes, which will severely impact the resources sector and was widely condemned by the Coalition and industry.

“Resources projects generate wealth over decades, however require billions in capital and take years to get to operational status,” Senator McDonald continued.

“Thanks to the Government’s lack of business acumen, we are already seeing the negative effects of their actions on Australia’s investment pipeline.

“It could take years for the impacts of these interventions to be reversed, and Australians must realise the full impact of the Government’s policies – before Labor completely undermines our wealth-generating industries.”

“The Prime Minister continues to prove he is too weak to govern his own Cabinet, let alone the country, while Ministers continue to take conflicting actions that damage industry, undermine our investment credibility and increase Australia’s sovereign risk.”