STATE BUDGET COVERAGE
INVESTMENT in the Latrobe Valley’s brown coal sector will be driven by a range of funding initiatives, according to State Energy and Resources Minister Nicholas Kotsiras.
Speaking with The Express Mr Kotsiras said a $19 million allocation would be used to attract new exploration and investments in the “earth resources sector” and new streamlined processes would benefit this region.
The minister said the money was a response to the Greenfield’s Mineral Exploration and Project Development in Victoria report, which found the state was “under-explored and under-developed” and the mining sector had “fallen over the last 10 years”.
A “regulatory framework” would be developed to help strengthen Victoria’s mining sector, Mr Kotsiras said, adding Victoria’s dense population demanded any development needed to “balance the protection of the environment and lifestyles with economic outcomes”.
The budget also announced $8.3 million in continued funding for Clean Coal Victoria, over four years.
“This will allow Clean Coal Victoria to continue its work facilitating coal technology projects and coal allocation plans, which includes the provision of coal resources information to industry to assist investment attractions…,” according to budget papers.
When asked if the State Government was nearing a conclusion to its ‘expression of interest’ process for companies keen to secure access to new coal allocations in the Valley, Mr Kotsiras said it was not.
An announcement on new coal allocation licences has been delayed at least six months already and though the minister insisted yesterday there was a high level of market interest in local brown coal, the government would not “rush” the current process, Mr Kotsiras said.
Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham told The Express budget papers identified just one performance indicator for CCV, being 16 annual stakeholder meetings.
“This suggests it is just a PR campaign to spruik clean coal,” he said.