Remarks to the Geoscience Australia Exploring for the Future showcase


I would like to begin today by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this event is taking place, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. 

I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples listening.

Thank you to Geoscience Australia for the opportunity to speak, ahead of this Exploring for the Future Showcase plenary session.

In particular, I would like to thank and acknowledge today’s MC Geoscience Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Steve Hill as well as the plenary speakers from Geoscience Australia – Chief of Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division, Dr Andrew Heap, and Exploring for the Future Program Senior Science Advisor Dr Karol Czarnota.

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to your respective presentations on what is a fascinating topic. 

The importance of Australia’s mineral and energy resources industry cannot be overstated.   

They are the engine room of our economy, and a steady stream of new resource projects is essential to our continued prosperity. 

But these projects do not happen overnight. 

On average it takes 16 years – from initial exploration and discovery to development and production. 

And every project starts by knowing where to look.

This is why programs like Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future are so important. 

The theme of this year’s Showcase is the role of precompetitive geoscience in supporting Australia’s transition to net zero.

This is apt, given this work is only going to become more important for Australia – as we strive to be key player in the world’s transition to clean energy.

We want to be a renewable energy superpower.

And I’ve long said that the road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.

Unlocking the full potential of our critical minerals and energy transition metals will help us achieve our net zero ambitions.

We know global demand for these commodities is rapidly increasing.

Decarbonisation and the growth in electronic, communication and military technologies is driving this demand – at a striking pace.

Meanwhile, traditional commodities, including our energy resources, will also play an essential role in supporting our transition to net zero.

These resources will also continue to underwrite energy security for our key trading partners.

So too will emissions reduction technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage, green steel production and low emission energy sources like hydrogen. 

In fact, new insights into the potential storage of hydrogen in salt caverns, I released at this event last year, immediately stimulated the uptake of new exploration tenements in South Australia and Queensland. 

At these sites companies are now undertaking detailed investigations to assess the feasibility of low-cost hydrogen storage to accelerate the development of this growing sector.   

Report announcement 

Today, I announce the release of a new report by Deloitte Access Economics on “The economic value of precompetitive geoscience data for Australia’s resources industry”. 

The report reveals the work of GA and Australian state and territory geological surveys supported a direct contribution to the Australian economy of $76 billion by the resource exploration and extraction sectors and over 80,000 full time jobs in the 2021-22 financial year.

These estimates are considered conservative. 

The return on that investment is fantastic given Australia’s share of global exploration expenditure has grown from 8 per cent to 18 per cent since the program began.

Importantly, the Deloitte report also highlights the role this data will play in supporting the discovery of minerals that will support the development of clean energy technologies. 

I’m excited to hear what impacts and benefits might come from the program’s latest insights and releases. 

Again, I would like to thank Geoscience Australia for the invitation to be part of today’s program.

Please enjoy the rest of this afternoon’s program, and I look forward to catching up with many of you soon.

Thank you.