Below is some Budget Commentary from some mining industry leaders

Andrew Dinning, Managing Director of Sarama Resources

On the National Skills Agreement:

The increase in funding under the National Skills Agreement will hopefully flow through to developing the labour pool, and anything that increases workforce skills and participation rates is positive for industry and business in general. However this initiative is unlikely to address immediate needs. The industry is suffering from a dearth of quality tradespeople and skilled participants which is having a detrimental impact on costs and quality of output. The mining industry and society in general desperately need a significant increase in skilled and quality labour and a much broader pool of skilled individuals from which to recruit.

Lifting the Migration programme ceiling:

One would hope that lifting the permanent migration ceiling will help alleviate some shorter-term labour market pressure. However the criteria for migration needs to be highly targeted and not just from a skills perspective, but also a cultural and quality perspective.

Infrastructure investment:

Infrastructure improvements are always welcome however with an extremely tight labour market – and cost and wage pressure being experienced across all parts of the supply chain – the government needs to be mindful of when this work is scheduled. From a mining and exploration perspective, remote infrastructure is helpful but sustaining the industry in the longer term is going to be driven by facilitating exploration and development, and there are many areas that state and federal governments are stymying this. This is not a high-cost fix, it is a bureaucratic and legal fix and these areas need to be addressed ahead of some of the mooted remote infrastructure projects, because if the government doesn’t actively support exploration, there will be nothing for the infrastructure to serve.

I would question why the government is embarking on massive spending programs when the country has such a tight labour market, historically high operating costs and problematic supply chains and it is a concern that this will further entrench underlying inflation for the longer term.

Andrew Job, Founder & CEO of Plotlogic

On Employee Share Schemes: 

We welcome this change wholeheartedly. The current opportunity for share schemes is very restrictive and puts Australia a long way behind many other countries, including the USA and Canada.

I have experienced this disparity first-hand, because our people engaged in North America are better off with their share allocation than our Australian employees, which effectively means that our Australian employees are penalised for being Australian tax residents.

The current arrangements are also quite onerous to apply, making it administratively difficult to offer shares to employees.

I see huge benefit in implementing these changes, as it further encourages new employees to share in the opportunity of our exciting growth potential.

This is an excellent and welcomed move, which not only has immediate benefit, but also means that Australia can further position itself as a leader in innovation, which has future significant economic benefits.

Patent box: 

The patent box will encourage investment in innovation in the areas of agriculture and low emissions technologies by offering a greater rate of return on such investments. In practice, I see this encouraging businesses such as Plotlogic to innovate and complete its research and development in Australia and keep intellectual property here. The economy will benefit from increasing the value of our exports – especially in high growth, attractive industries in which Australia already enjoys competitive advantages. We would like to see this preferential treatment extended to mining technology focused on critical minerals.

Our technology makes the mining process more environmentally friendly by making it more precise. In this way we’re able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste. For a company like ours paying less tax on income from new patents will help us accelerate growth and further develop our tech.

Uni / Industry Collaboration 

As a company that co-creates intellectual property with universities such as the University of Queensland and our customers, we welcome the Government’s announcement of new funding to drive collaboration between our universities, CSIRO and industry to rapidly commercialise new technologies in clean energy, medical supplies, defence and other high priority areas. This funding will have tangible impacts – bolstering the value of Australian manufacturing, upskilling Australian workers in future focused industries and improving the sovereignty of our supply chains in critical industries. We are pleased to see the funding focus on speed of commercialisation, and we look forward to more details on how this speed is driven by the government’s policies.