QRC says budget a 'mixed bag' for Queensland resources
REPRESENTATIVE body for Queensland's minerals and energy producers has described the 2014 Federal Budget as a 'mixed bag' of positive commitments and surprising funding cuts.
'First of all, I congratulate the Treasurer on moving decisively to repair the Commonwealth budget by moving it into surplus over time,' said Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche.
'As expected, the budget delivers on key election commitments such as ending the carbon tax and the mining tax.
'It also injects some much-needed support to find the next generation of mines in the form of an Exploration Development Incentive targeted at small companies and their investors.
'The infrastructure spending package is to be welcomed, particularly for essential projects in Queensland such as the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.
'Similarly, the concessional loans scheme designed to encourage the take-up of trades training is timely with the take-up of apprenticeships in the current business climate under renewed pressure.'
Mr Roche said the budget downside was led by cuts of nearly half a billion dollars to Commonwealth funding of carbon capture and storage technology development.
'It is clear that CCS technology development is not so much an option but a necessity in seeking to extend energy security globally while reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions,' Mr Roche said.
'Also of special interest to the resources sector are proposed net savings to indigenous affairs programs and we will be seeking more details on the impacts on employment opportunities for indigenous communities in remote and regional Queensland.
'Naturally, resource communities are also vitally interested in how the states handle the apparent shift to them in health and education costs.
'And finally, at a time when there is international focus on Australia's management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine, we are surprised at cuts in funding to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science,' Mr Roche said.