Australian Government Unveils Exploration Incentives

Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Resources

Australian Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane on Monday announced a $135 million energy security package to provide a new impetus for exploration activity across Australia.

"The package will spur exploration throughout our continent and is aimed at capturing serious, long-term investment in Australia by explorers," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Australia cannot divorce itself from the global minerals and energy markets - we have to adjust our strategy at various times in the global cycle.

"This country remains mostly unexplored, particularly for petroleum in frontier offshore areas and encouraging exploration in these zones is a high priority in terms of future energy security and export markets.

"The package will provide Geoscience Australia with the resources to supply the information necessary for companies to consider exploration reconnaissance. Building a credible geological story is essential to gain the attention of the global exploration industry.

"$76.4 million of the package will expand Geoscience Australia's "Big New Oil" program through pre-competitive data acquisition. Over the next five years, data will be acquired from offshore areas that span up to two million square kilometers, more than three times the area covered by the last program," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The acquired geological data will be enhanced to meet evolving global exploration industry standards. The improved data will be extensively promoted to the exploration industry decision-makers in Australia and abroad.

"Additionally, we will take serious steps to reduce the red-tape burden on the petroleum exploration industry. The current legislation has been re-written, but we can go further to make frontier exploration more attractive."

The package includes $58.9 million to enable Geoscience Australia to pioneer innovative, integrated geoscientific research to better understand the geological potential of onshore Australia for both minerals and petroleum. This will be done through the application of the latest geophysical imaging and mapping technologies.

"The global exploration industry is receptive to information on new opportunities and this Government has acted to ensure that this information is more easily accessible," Mr Macfarlane said.