THE BOURSE WHISPERER: The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) has welcomed South Australian budget announcements of $6 million over four years to support a Mining and Petroleum Services Centre of Excellence; an additional $4 million over two years to extend the PACE initiative; and over half a million to fund an Eyre Peninsula Land Use Support program to help foster positive relations between explorers and landholders.
The funding will assist the mining and energy sector in South Australia continue its growth, improve confidence and establish the State as a significant global jurisdiction for research and innovation in the resources sphere.
“The establishment of a Mining and Petroleum Service Centre of Excellence will add to our impressive portfolio of world class research centres and help to cement South Australia’s reputation in this area,” SACOME chief executive Jason Kuchel said in an announcement.
South Australia already hosts several organisations conducting exceptional innovation and research activities in the resources field, and DMITRE’S (The Department of Manufacturing Innovation, Training, Resources and Energy) geosciences database ranks number one in the world.
According to Kuchel SACOME looked forward to working closely with the State Government in regards to the Eyre Peninsula Land Use Support program.
“It is absolutely essential to the sector and to the State’s economy that resource companies and landholders are able to coexist productively,” he said.
“Mining and farming can together support each other and grow two of the most important sectors to the State economy.
“SACOME has long recognised this and taken a proactive role in addressing the challenges faced by exploration companies and landholders in recent years, including holding numerous workshops and seminars and establishing both a Code of Practice for Community and Stakeholder Engagement together with a Code of Conduct for Mineral and Energy Explorers on rural land in conjunction with Primary Producers SA.”
Kuchel said South Australia must continue to be viewed as an attractive place to invest and a well-resourced government department and leadership that prioritised innovative and forward thinking initiatives in the resources field was essential in fostering this.
“The State Government’s continued commitment to the successful PACE program is to be applauded,” he said.
Mr Kuchel said the reduction in payroll tax for smaller businesses was also warmly welcomed.
“The reduction in payroll tax will positively impact many of our members,” he said.
“Most resources companies in this State are not the big players and this reduction, although small in comparison to the high costs and risks involved in exploring, is a welcome extra for companies doing it tough.”
Kuchel said although the State budget announcements reflect forward thinking, significant changes are required at Federal level to boost flagging investment into the sector nationwide.
“Investor sentiment, particularly in regards to mineral exploration, is at its lowest level in more than a decade” he said.
“Both major federal parties must commit to implementing policies to turn this around, in particular with the introduction of an exploration tax credit similar to the scheme operating in Canada, which is credited with much of that country’s exploration investment attraction.
“Our Federal government needs to recognise the importance of this sector to the economy and take the necessary steps to ensure it continues to prosper.”