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Report backs tax breaks

A FEDERAL parliamentary report has added its voice to calls for tangible action, including tax concessions, to arrest the slide in mineral exploration spending in Australia.

The House of Representatives Industry and Resources Committee has also focused on measures to boost geoscience.

“Discovery is the key to Australia’s resource exploration industry recovery,” committee chairman and West Australian MP, Geoff Prosser, said.

“That’s why the major thrust of the recommendations is directed at a massive upgrade of the data geologists use to find deposits.”

Specific recommendations included a major survey to gather high-resolution geoscientific data across the Australian landmass.

The committee said it “found evidence supporting the introduction of a flow-through share scheme compelling”. This would help junior exploration companies raise equity finance for high-risk greenfields work.

The committee also recommended tax concessions to encourage greater oil and gas exploration in offshore deepwater basins and a bounty to encourage small petroleum companies to explore onshore basins for crude oil.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA said the report was the latest in a series that has a recurring theme – if Australia wants a sustainable mining industry, it needs a suite of solutions.

CME chief executive Tim Shanahan said the recommendations mirrored many of those contained in the WA Government’s Bowler review and the industry-driven ‘mineral exploration action agenda’.

“From an industry perspective, all the reports and inquiries have established that there is no single cure to turn-around the downturn in exploration expenditure,” he said.

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