Victoria’s resource industry will suffer after the Andrews Labor Government announced a cut in funding of $49.4 million, or 40.3 per cent of total Government spending on the sector when comparing the 2019-20 budget with this year’s (Budget Paper 3, p 255).
This funding cut makes no sense, given the Government is already failing to meet its regulatory obligations to the sector.
According to the Budget Paper 3, 18 per cent of licence applications and work plans in the resources sector are not being processed within the statutory deadline (p 283).
Worse, 21 per cent of mining and exploration licences which have been granted remain inactive, because the industry does not have confidence in the Andrews’ Labor Government (p 283).
Why on earth would industry trust Labor? It was Labor that extended the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration. This cost Victorians $1.7 billion in export revenue, saw gas production fall by a fifth and increased gas prices by 125 per cent.
What is Labor’s solution to the mess they’ve created with its mismanagement of our natural resources? First, it introduced new regulations, which will add up to 30 per cent to compliance costs (p 50).
Then, despite lifting its ban on conventional gas exploration in principle, it refuse to actually let producers get to work finding newer, cheaper gas before 1 July 2021.
Labor’s policies have impacted resource sector jobs, driven down gas production, driven up gas prices and increased regulatory costs.
After all that failure – Labor now is cutting the budget of the very agencies charged with fixing the resources sector that Labor has hampered.
Industry will be worse off. Jobs will be slower to return. The new gas production and the cheap energy we all need so desperately will be delayed under Labor.
Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Resources, Ryan Smith:
“The Budget papers clearly show that Daniel Andrews and Labor have ripped $49.4 million from the agencies that are supposed to support jobs and development in Victoria’s resource industries.
“After years of overregulation and increased energy prices, Daniel Andrews and Labor are now shamefully cutting the budget of the agencies intended to support our crucial resources sector.”