Budget 2018–19: energy resources sector supported
National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment in the Budget 2018–19 to continue support for the energy resources sector through ongoing funding of science, technology, research and innovation initiatives.
NERA opened its doors in 2016 as an independent, not-for-profit company with an industry-led board, focused on working collaboratively with its stakeholders to transform the productivity and global competitiveness of the energy resources sector.
Miranda Taylor, CEO of NERA, said that the organisation was established with an initial four years of funding from the Australian Government.
“In the two years since our inception, we have developed a Sector Competitiveness Plan (SCP) in consultation with operators and the supply chain (including SMEs, researchers and innovators) and we have supported a wide range of technology and innovation projects to help foster the industry’s efficiency, digital and low-carbon transition,” she said. “In this week’s Budget, the federal government recognised the early success of NERA and the Industry Growth Centres, extending our funding for an additional two years until 2022.
“This extended timeframe will allow NERA to build on our early achievements, having committed more than $10 million, which has been matched by our stakeholders to a total of $24 million for 33 projects. Our project portfolio is underpinned by our Sector Competitiveness Plan — the roadmap for the future of the energy resources sector in Australia — pointing to a potential for $10 billion in value to be unlocked across eight knowledge priorities.”
Other relevant Budget details that impact the sector include:
- $20 million Export Hubs Initiative: The Export Hubs Initiative will help Australian businesses to grow, export and increase local and regional jobs. It will help the private sector develop local business hubs. Through the hubs, local and regional businesses will learn from each other to support their export growth. The Export Hubs Initiative will complement and build upon Growth Centres’ existing cluster activities as well as other regional development initiatives. The existing cluster organisations that Growth Centres are currently working with will be able to take advantage of this initiative. It will also fund new hubs.
- $29.9 million to build Australia’s AI capability: This will support businesses and workers, including funding for CRC projects with a focus on AI and a national framework to address standards and ethics for the use of this technology.
- $20 million to support Australian innovation in Asia: This will help capture opportunities for Australian business, entrepreneurs and researchers in Asia, a region that stands to deliver nearly two-thirds of global growth to 2030 and continues the successful Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
- $4.5 million to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers: This will comprise the Women in Science Strategy and the development of the Decadal Plan for Women in Science and includes the previously announced Women in Science Ambassador.
- Over $260 million for Geoscience Australia: GA will use the funding to develop world-leading satellite infrastructure and technologies.
- $160.9 million for a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS): This will deliver satellite positioning data across all of Australia and its maritime territories with an accuracy of 10 cm. Its complete coverage will have enormous benefits for rural and regional Australia and sectors such as mining and agriculture.
- $64 million for a National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC): This funding will be used to establish a national ground station network to deliver positioning data with 3–5 cm accuracy within areas of mobile phone coverage across Australia.
- $36.9 million for Digital Earth Australia: The aim is to make a vast wealth of satellite data available to businesses, researchers and the community.
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/TTstudio
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