Budget 2024: Minerals and energy exploration plan to map Australian landmass and offshore sites in 35 years

By Melissa Coade

May 8, 2024

Madeleine King
Australian Resources Minister Madeleine King. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The Labor government will commit $566.1 million over 10 years in next week’s federal budget as part of what Anthony Albanese has dubbed a “generational investment” to map Australian resources, including new deposits of minerals and sources of energy.

The funding will contribute to the work of Resourcing Australia’s Prosperity (RAP), which will map offshore parts of Australia for the first time.

Geoscience Australia will lead efforts to find and map the nation’s resources, gathering information about groundwater systems, supporting climate resilience, our agricultural sector, and water security for communities and the environment.

The program will also include support for regional communities, farmers and First Nations people to manage land and water resources.

In a joint statement on Wednesday with Minister for Resources Madeleine King, the PM said the funding would help Australia’s resources future and secure more domestic jobs.

“This investment highlights my government’s commitment to building a secure and sustainable future for all Australians. By investing significantly in geoscience, we can boost our progress towards net zero,” Albanese said.

Deloitte Access Economics has estimated that existing public precompetitive geoscience supported $76 billion of value that was added to the Australian economy in 2021-2022. During this same period, it is also believed to have directly created 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Major discoveries have also been spurred by Geoscience Australia’s precompetitive data program with findings of the deposits of the critical minerals and rare earths that are essential components of clean energy technologies.

The data has further stimulated what the government deems as an “unprecedented level of exploration activity”, with 65 companies exploring 569 tenements spanning more than 290,000 square kilometres of Australia.

According to the federal government, this latest funding announcement will set the resources industry up for decades to come.

It will also see RAP fully funded for 35 years — to open doors for future “economy-making discoveries” and identify potential sites for carbon capture and storage, as well as possible clean hydrogen projects.

King said the government was putting the resources industry at the heart of its policymaking because a strong sector meant a strong nation.

The minister also praised Geoscience Australia as a world-leading scientific institution that all citizens should be proud of.

“The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector,” King said.

“This funding will ensure we can draw the map for our resources companies to find the minerals we need to drive our economy and build the technology we need to reduce emissions… This funding will be an unprecedented investment in our geoscience capability,” she said.


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