Resources budget booster to future-proof Gladstone industries and jobs

Minister for Resources The Honourable Scott Stewart

A State Budget new economy minerals booster pack of almost $40 million will support good jobs and encourage economic opportunities for Gladstone.

Speaking from Gladstone’s Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) Lookout, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the 2022-23 State Budget would inject millions to transform the state’s new economy minerals sector into a long-term pit-to-product industry.

“The latest budget’s multi-million-dollar shot in the arm for the new economy minerals sector will fast track projects and the jobs and business opportunities for suppliers that come with them,” Mr Stewart said.

“Rio Tinto’s QAL and Yarwun refineries and Boyne smelter are great examples of how industry can build supply chains here in Queensland – with Rio mining the bauxite in Weipa needed to process and manufacture alumina and, from that, aluminium here in Gladstone.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher, who worked at QAL for more than two decades, said the Gladstone region is primed to take advantage of these opportunities, created by the Queensland Budget.

“The Palaszczuk Government wants to create more pit-to-product opportunities for our new economy minerals, which is why we’ve invested millions into building capacity to mine and manufacture these minerals right across Queensland,” Mr Butcher said.

“The resources industry has long provided jobs for Queenslanders and the royalties it brings has allowed us to deliver a record Queensland budget – which has gone toward improving Gladstone’s schools, port and infrastructure.”

Gladstone Regional Council Deputy Mayor Councillor Kahn Goodluck welcomed the investment in new economy minerals, an industry that has greatly benefited Gladstone.

“This booster pack will have great flow-on benefits here in Gladstone – home to two of the world’s largest alumina refineries and the Boyne aluminium smelter – and is needed for the manufacturing of solar panels, electric vehicles, batteries and other energy storage systems,” Cr Goodluck said.

“Gladstone is one of Queensland’s most successful resources centres and this investment in our new economy minerals sector right from mine to manufacturing will continue to generate high-skill, highly-paid long-term jobs.”

The Budget injection will drive key actions from the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan which was released last week. Key actions in the plan funded in the Budget include:

  • an additional $17.5 million over four years for exploration, particularly for new economy minerals. This takes the total investment over five years to $22.6 million to find the future mines producing the minerals and metals that the world needs.
  • $10 million over two years for geoscientific research to find out more about identified deposits and potential new ways to mine them
  • $5.7 million over three years to the Resources Centre of Excellence in Mackay to expand their existing training and business incubation service to support new economy minerals projects
  • $5 million over two years for research to better define Queensland’s new economy minerals potential.
  • $1.59 million to make mining and exploration assessment and approvals more efficient.

The plan also highlighted opportunities for gas producers to become diversified energy providers by investing in low emissions gases like hydrogen.

Mr Stewart said the $6.7 million budget announcement for the Central Queensland Hydrogen Project had the potential to make Gladstone a world-leading hydrogen hub – creating good jobs across the supply chain.

“I commend the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen on his work on the Central Queensland Hydrogen Project – which has received a significant $15.3 million funding boost supported by last week’s budget,” he said.

“A key action in our Queensland Resources Industry Plan is to grow new markets and utilise its expertise in gas supply for hydrogen development both domestically and internationally – and Gladstone is in good stead to be a world-leading hydrogen hub.

“We built a multi-billion-dollar LNG industry from scratch here in Gladstone and the knowledge and skills that we have here on the ground will be invaluable to producing and exporting low-emissions gases like hydrogen.”

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