Budget boosts resources innovation and investment
3 May 2016
The resources sector continues to play an important role in our economy, representing around 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP and more than 50 per cent of our exports.
The 2016-17 Budget delivers a strong boost to the productivity and competitiveness of this sector with $100 million provided to Geoscience Australia for mapping mineral, energy and groundwater potential in northern Australia and South Australia.
This funding is on top of the $1.1 billion of initiatives outlined in the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.
The $100 million Exploring for the Future programme will produce pre-competitive geoscience data, to be released on an annual basis over the next four years. Geoscience Australia estimates that around 80 per cent of Australia remains under-explored, in particular, areas in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia, which will be the focus of this initiative. This will improve Australia’s long term exploration prospects and help address declining new onshore exploration.
The benefits for doing so are clear. In 1996, Geoscience Australia undertook $3 million of analysis in the Browse Basin. This helped identify the Ichthys field, which will produce more than $70 billion in export earnings over the next forty years.
Further, data compiled across South Australia in the 1960s, costing around $350,000, helped identify the resource potential of the Olympic Dam and ultimately to the discovery of ore more than 300 metres underground.
At a challenging time for the resources sector, this important initiative will help ensure that Australia’s strength in innovation is furthered, and that we maintain our competitive edge in this world-leading sector.
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