Friday, 21 October 2022

Shadow Minister for Resources, Senator Susan McDonald has slammed Labor’s announcement of $100 million in budget cuts to the $200 million Critical Minerals Accelerator Program introduced by the Coalition earlier this year, all while pretending the funding is new.

The rebranded Critical Minerals Development Program now only has $50 million left in the fund after Labor slashed $100 million out of the program and the first $50 million is already out the door following six grants announced by the Coalition in April.

In a further sleight of hand, Labor has rebranded the Australian Critical Minerals Research and Development Centre, funded and created by the Coalition, as a ‘Hub’ and is now trying to pretend it is new.

And while the headline figure of $50.5 million in funding appears the same, Labor has hidden further funding cuts by stretching it out over more years to reduce annual funding.

“If Labor’s idea of an announcement to support mining is changing one word in the name of a Coalition program and then cutting the program’s funding, then I worry for the future of the industry,” she said

“This whole thing is a smoke and mirrors announcement to cut funding. It is clear the Prime Minister is battling anti-mining MPs in his own Cabinet and is trying to keep them onside while giving industry false hope.

“This funding cut is a slap in the face to an industry that should be leading the world in critical minerals extraction and exports as global demand for battery and renewables components soars.

“The hypocrisy of Labor is clear as they push Australia headlong into a rush towards renewables, all while cutting funding to the very critical minerals that are vital to the creation of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles.

“The Government must pick a side: it either supports Australian mining companies, mine workers and the billions in royalties and taxes they provide, or it stands with the Greens and other anti-mining and anti-development groups.

“The Prime Minister tries to claim these initiatives are new, but there is nothing new in today’s announcement. There is no new funding, nothing new about the Program or Hub, and nothing new about Labor trying to deceive the public as they undermine the resources sector.”