Victorian Budget a small step towards meeting Victoria’s mining potential, but high taxes still stifling growth and investment

Victoria’s 2024 budget provides some positive developments for the state’s minerals industry, but it continues to be marred by tax uncertainty that will prove costly for Victoria.

MCA Victoria acknowledges the $44 million in base funding provided in the Budget for Resources Victoria to help grow the Victorian critical minerals industry and fund an efficient regulator, for which the MCA has long advocated.

Investment in geoscience data, and further facilitation provides important support for for untapped resources in Victoria, including gold, mineral sands, rare earths, and base metals like copper.

However, there is notable absence of funding for the critical minerals grants program that was announced in the 2022 Budget and championed by MCA Victoria.

Modest grants for exploration, research, and innovative technologies are essential to ensure Victoria capitalises on opportunities to integrate into renewable energy and high-tech supply chains.

The government’s Melbourne-centric approach to economic policy is failing to deliver, leaving Victoria and its regional areas disadvantaged. Without diversifying and fostering new industries across the regions, Victoria cannot overcome its substantial debt challenges

Victorian mining and exploration is making a major contribution to regional development, with potential for much more. Prioritising mining is vital for Victoria to secure a robust revenue stream to support community services, infrastructure, and to create well-paying, full-time jobs in rural areas.

Victorian mining is estimated to pay $140 million in royalties in 2022-23. This is in addition to various fees and charges imposed by mining. The only path to grow this contribution is through permitting new mines.

The state Treasurer’s 2019 decision to impose a significant gold tax-surpassing that of Western Australia-has proven to be a misguided policy. Funds raised from this tax since 2020 have been squandered, including on non-events like the Commonwealth Games cancellation, with none of the revenue benefiting the gold mining regions of Bendigo, Stawell, or Ballarat.

Payroll taxes have made Victoria a costly state for businesses to employ staff and expand, further hampering growth. Urgent tax reform is needed to prevent Victoria from falling behind.

Victoria has a number of mining projects in the pipeline across the state. The Government needs to do more to build an efficient regulator, increase certainty on timeframes, and fix the broken approvals process or risk losing out to other jurisdictions with more welcoming policies for investment.

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