Industry buoyant as Australia welcomes new govt

Australian oil, gas workers10 September 2013, News Wires – Groups in Australia’s oil and gas industry have called for the incoming Coalition Government to act swiftly on its campaign pledges following the weekend’s landslide federal election victory.

The Coalition, an alliance between the Liberal Party and The Nationals Party in Australia, will form the country’s new government after a comfortable election win over the Labor Party Sept. 7.

Australia’s resources industry has backed the new government to deliver renewed stability to the oil and gas sector following volatility under Labor’s reign during the past six years.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, CME, said it looked forward to working with the Coalition Government to implement the key policy commitments made during the campaign.

These include to deliver a “one-stop-shop policy” for a more streamlined and cost efficient environmental approvals process, to abolition unnecessary additional tax costs and compliance burdens targeting the resources sector and to implement an Exploration Development Incentive, which would allow investors to deduct a proportion of exploration expenditure against their taxable income.

“A focus on reducing the cost of doing business and increasing exploration activity need to be a priority for the Coalition Government in order to enable the continued growth of the resources sector in Western Australia,” said CME chief executive officer Reg Howard-Smith.

A key election pledge during Abbott’s campaign was to scrap Australia’s controversial carbon tax, a move that was widely acknowledged as beneficial to oil and gas companies.

The Coalition Government intends to replace the carbon tax with its proposed Direct Action Plan, which would directly fund companies for reducing their carbon emissions.

Abbott has stood by his intention to abolish the tax, but the move may be tougher to complete than he originally expected, despite the one-sided election result.

A motion to repeal the tax would require clearance from the country’s Senate, which looks certain to be made up of several members who currently support the levy.

Representatives of the Senate, which also has a Labor Party and Greens Party majority until the new Senate is introduced in July next year, have already indicated they will do everything in their power to block the Coalition from removing the tax.

However, Minerals Council of Australia, MCA, chief executive officer Mitch Hooke said abolishing the carbon tax would be a positive first step in an industry where international competitors face no such comparable imposts.

Hooke described the carbon tax as a “dead-weight on the economy” that has failed to achieve its environmental objective while adding massive new costs on the sector.

“The industry will engage actively with the coalition’s white paper process in the further development and implementation of the Direct Action climate change policy,” said Hooke.

Hooke also welcomed the Abbott Government’s plans to establish a new Resources Industry Advisory Council.

“It will provide a revitalized platform for dialogue and the practical development of policy measures, including regulatory reform,” Hooke added.

– Rigzone

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