b'Canberra observed better focus the sectors innovation,Working with industry, state and territoryLabor will establish the Australian Future research and development on long- governments and local communities toMines Centre, to co-ordinate exploration term, sectoral growth, promote priority new greenfield basins andwork and lead the scientific research anddevelop and retain the worlds bestprovinces. We will seek to align policies,development necessary to explore under workforce and provide information and investment services,deep cover. The Centre will be fundeddeliver better outcomes for strongerand develop a shared vision for infrastructure. through a $23 million Australian Research and more engaged communities. Working cooperatively with the NorthernCouncil Special Research Initiative, with input Territory to bring forward the developmentfrom the Australian Academy of Sciences and These are all very nice words, butthe sector. We will also encourage industry when you drill down into firm financialof the Beetaloo Sub-basin as a potentiallyco-funding as part of the Centres work.commitments there is not too much newworld-class new gas province and to assist money to be found. in maximising the downstream value of theThe Centre will also deliver on the need petroleum industry for the Northern Territoryfor an industry data strategy and explore There is a very welcome $20m for a Co- and the broader Australian economy. options for innovation collaboration operative Research Centre project to findExploring longer-term options to enhanceacross the sectorkey recommendations and develop critical mineral resourcesthe offshore petroleum titles managementof the Resources 2030 Task Force Report.such as lithium, cobalt and titanium,framework in consultation with industry.The Plan will also help deliver the mining and also a commitment to extendEnhancements will aim to provide greaterjobs of the future, with $2 million to provide Geoscience Australias Exploring for thetransparency on offshore gas reserves,100 scholarships to arrest the dramatic Future programme for four more years. accelerate offshore resources developmentdecline in mining engineering degree Beyond these items the words areand streamline administrative processes. commencements. And consistent with non-committal. The key actions in theWhen I read words like InvestigateLabors commitment to equality for women Statement are: expanding or examine the feasibilityof Australia, no less than 50 per cent of of expanding I start to worry about thethese places will be awarded to women.Investigating expanding the scope ofcommitment, particularly when theLabor commits to a Resource White Paper Geoscience Australias Exploring for thegovernment has been cutting the budgetprocess, to deliver the long-term vision Future program and extending it forof the Australian Bureau of Statistics. across Government for the resource sector four years. This would extend its benefitsand to ensure we capitalise on all the into the southern half of the Australianopportunities it can bring.continent and include targeted offshoreThe Australian Labor Partyareas to access new, deeper resources.The Australian Labor Party (ALP) alsoConclusionWorking with industry, through thedraws on the 2030 Task Force report, and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS),provides for similar outcomes through aIts good to have a bi-partisan approach to examine the feasibility of expandingFuture Mines and Jobs Plan (https://www. with similar commitments and goals the Survey of Mineral Exploration.jasonclare.com.au/media/portfolio-media- to boost exploration. The $20 million Expanding this survey aims to improve thereleases/4159-labor-to-kick-start-the- commitment of new money from the information collected about greenfieldmines-and-mining-jobs-of-the-future),Coalition and $25 million from the ALP are exploration to greater reflect currentwhich was also released in February 2019.very welcome, and lets hope that whoever industry exploration activities. Some parts of the plan state: is elected carries out their promises.The Government announces details of a new National Interest TestIn the December 2018 issue of Previewto Australias national interest through itsARC CEO. The ARC CEO will assess the I indicated that the Government waspotential to have economic, commercial,NIT of each application and provide concerned that some of the research itenvironmental, social or cultural benefits toadvice to the Minister. The Minister funds through the Australian Researchthe Australian community. can also use the NIT in making their Council may not be in the nationaldecision.interest, even though all applicationsThe previous benefit and impact were being assessed against a Nationalapplication text will be replaced withAlthough the NIT may result in no Benefit criterion. a compulsory field for the applicantadditional burden on the applicants, to make their case against the NIT.pity the CEO of the ARC having to read On 27 November 2018, Dan TehanThis statement will be 100 to 150hundreds of NITs for every round of MP, Minister for Education announcedwords long and in plain English. Theapplications. And I would like to know how the new National Interest TestNIT will apply to all future rounds.what happens if an applicant can provide (NIT) would apply to future ARC grantThis approach creates no additionalreasons the research is in the national applications. burden to researchers in preparinginterest in less than 100 words?He stated that: their applications but requires them to specifically address the NIT definition.Is the Minister a control freak or is he Applicants will be asked to explain theARC assessors will assess applicationstrying to ensure that all research funds extent to which the research contributesand provide recommendations to theare spent wisely?29 PREVIEW APRIL 2019'