Earlier this month the mining industry ramped up its support for such a scheme after a study by Synergies Economic Consulting and the Centre of Policy Studies showed FTS could provide more than 4000 new jobs and nearly a billion dollars of real investment over the next four years.
Under the proposed scheme, exploration tax credits would be made available to shareholders at the company tax rate of 30% and eligible shareholders could use their ETCs to offset their own tax liabilities.
Industry bodies across Australia, including the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia backed the findings of the study.
The industry groups argued the proposed FTS scheme would allow junior explorers to pass “unusable” tax deductions on to their Australian shareholders, which would create immediate investment benefits.
But, while the federal government committed to flow-through shares in the 2007 election, the scheme has again failed to materialise in the budget.
Carbon capture scheme
Australian coal miners will be happy at the government’s decision to throw $2 billion over the next nine years at carbon capture technology, promising to establish a Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program.
The program will support the development of industrial-scale demonstration projects for CCS technology in Australia, including a carbon dioxide storage hub with pipeline infrastructure, as well as integrated CCS projects to demonstrate a range of technologies to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations.
Projects will be subject to a competitive process, with the government contributing up to one-third of the cost.
Together with the existing $400 million National Low Emissions Coal Initiative and the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, the federal government says the new CCS Flagships program will complement the recently launched Global CCS Institute.
Mining safety program extended
The government has also found $3.3 million over four years to implement the National Mine Safety Framework.
The government says the NMSF will eventually deliver a nationally consistent occupational health and safety regime in the mining industry, providing greater certainty and reducing costs for mining companies that operate across state borders.