Mr BASHAM (Finniss) (15:30): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on the Marshall Liberal government’s Accelerated Discovery Initiative and how it is driving activity and investment in the state’s resources industry?
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Thank you, Speaker. The Accelerated Discovery Initiative is an outstanding Marshall Liberal government exploration program in the minerals sector. We know that our resources industry is incredibly important to South Australia. Our resources industry and agriculture are both stand-outs for our economy and they both leave a distant third behind them. They are very important sectors.
There was $6.9 billion of sales value from resources last year, 50 per cent of our state’s exports from resources last year—incredibly important. We know that we need to keep doing work in partnership with industry to make sure that this continues to grow and grow and grow. The Accelerated Discovery Initiative isn’t just about drilling holes.
The former government did have support programs for exploration but not nearly as broad, not nearly as diverse and not nearly as effective as the Accelerated Discovery Initiative, which of course does support, co-fund, drilling prospective targets, but it does much more than that too: it actually contributes to the interrogation of data. It contributes to the geoscience exploration pathways. It contributes to innovative logistics issues. It contributes to the discovery and understanding of underground water resources. It even has the potential to contribute to innovative ways to create Indigenous employment in the resources sector.
At the Copper to the World Conference last week (Copper to the World online, I should say, this year as it actually happened) it was a pleasure to announce 14 successful applicants to round 1—$3 million to round 1 and another $7 million remaining for rounds 2 and 3. The types of programs that received support from our government were:
an exciting new collaboration with South Australian-based Fleet Space Technologies and OZ Minerals investigating wireless remote sensing technology to map heat flow below the crust;
- research collaboration with local universities;
- regional Aboriginal employment;
- investigations into logistical support for the resources sector; and
- expansion of SA’s magnetotelluric dataset to better define deep drill targets.
This is incredibly important. We have resources. We have outstanding resources in South Australia and we know that there’s more there, but most of them are under very deep cover, hundreds of metres of deep cover. Exploration is expensive, exploration is challenging, and we need to make sure that every dollar spent on exploration can be as effective and as fruitful as possible so that we can attract more and more investment.
We are not resting on our laurels; we are determined to make sure that the resources sector, both in minerals and petroleum, continues to be a leader and continues to provide royalties to our state, employment to our state and contribute to our economy and social fabric for decades ahead.