Oct 06, 2020

Budget backs gas-fired recovery plan, NAIF reforms

Budget backs gas-fired recovery plan, NAIF reforms

The 2020-21 Budget is supporting the Federal Government’s gas-fired recovery plan with $28.3 million to develop five Strategic Basin Plans.

This will start with plans for the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Queensland.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the plans would unlock and accelerate the development of vast gas reserves, increase domestic supply and lower prices for households and businesses.

In addition, the Government is providing $13.7 million over four years to provide scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions through the CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance.

The Budget also funds the previously announced $124.5 million expansion of the Exploring for the Future Program.

The program, operated by Geoscience Australia, will deliver detailed data on potential resources in vast areas that have yet to be fully explored.

This funding will help unlock new resources along two major corridors identified as resource-rich in both western and eastern parts of Australia.

Mr Pitt said reforms for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) would give it more flexibility to bankroll investment in a wider range of projects across northern Australia, and speed up investment approvals.

This comes on top of July’s announcement of a five-year extension to the NAIF until June 30 2026, and the Budget contains an additional $41.5 million to support the extension.

“The Australian Government is committed to creating jobs across northern Australia to help the region play a stronger role in Australia’s economic recovery,” Mr Pitt said.

“We are empowering the NAIF to accelerate lending and providing greater flexibility in how it can support projects driving economic and population growth – during the challenging business environment due to COVID-19.”

The 2020-21 Budget also includes $3.5 million over two years to fund preliminary rehabilitation works at the former Rum Jungle copper and uranium mine in the Northern Territory. The funds will support land management and training jobs for local Indigenous communities.