Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Shadow Minister for Resources, Senator Susan McDonald has questioned the Albanese Government’s genuine desire to back Australian critical mineral interests, saying today’s funding announcement in Gladstone does not reverse the policy failures of the last two years.

“Labor’s bold claims belie the previous years of failure to support Australia’s resources sector. This Government has a long and terrible track record of intervening in markets and picking winners; there is no reason to trust Labor to get it right this time,” she said.

“In the last two years alone, Labor has intervened to break the gas market, dithered as the nickel industry collapsed, introduced a carbon tax, and funded anti-development activists, created overly restrictive environmental regulations and imposed archaic industrial relations laws.

“The Coalition has always recognised the need for investment in Australia’s critical mineral sector. However, today the Government just reannounced and rebadged $185 million of funding to Renascor Resources that the Coalition first announced in 2022.

“It is hard to see this as any more than window dressing from a Government who have overseen a failing energy system, investment-killing industrial relations laws and problematic environmental policies.

“Labor should instead be addressing the underlying issues that are impacting our resources and energy sectors – issues they themselves have created.”

Senator McDonald cited a report today by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute which asserts that the Government’s current critical minerals strategy sells Australia and its allies short and calls the Government’s response to the 25 agreements signed with other nations as “lacklustre”.

“The average time to get a new mine approved in Australia is 16years, and meanwhile our strategic and trading partners are crying out for secure supplies of critical minerals to facilitate their energy needs,” said Senator McDonald.

“The Government talks big on critical minerals but is not doing enough to establish and strengthen the necessary supply chains to give Australia’s trading partners the confidence they need to invest.Australia must establish and strengthen strategic partnerships with like-minded countries, including Korea, Japan and the United States, who need our critical minerals to help create secure supply chains.

“Labor willfully chooses to ignore that critical minerals are not only used in low-emissions technologies, but also play a vital role in industries such as defence, aerospace, transport, automotive, medical, telecommunications as well as advanced manufacturing.

“The world is on the cusp of a critical minerals boom, and we want to ensure Australia is not left behind.

“Prioritising a significant increase in our critical minerals extraction, refining and export capabilities is vital, but it cannot prosper without secure, affordable and reliable energy, and is hampered by problematic environmental laws.

“The sad fact facing Australian miners is that the Labor Federal Government tries to take one step forward all while taking ten steps backwards.

“It is no surprise that the Prime Minister says one thing to inner-city Greens voters while saying something else entirely to industry.

“This Prime Minister cannot be trusted to end the factional and ideological battles in his Cabinet, and at the end of the day it is Australians who suffer the consequences of this incompetence.”