The Nationals WA have welcomed the Labor Government’s change of heart over extending funding for the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) and have called for the additional support to remain as a permanent fixture.
In May Leader Mia Davies wrote to the State Mines Minister calling for the EIS to be boosted to help stimulate the mineral exploration as the impacts of COVID-19 threatened the sector – and the State’s economy.
“Labor hasn’t always been encouraging of the exploration scheme, they wanted to scrap it two years ago, so we’re pleased they have had a change of thinking after our call for help,” Ms Davies said.
“The EIS is an important program because it stimulates exploration, which in turn provides a huge return on investment critical to the economic success of our State.”
Ms Davies said The Nationals WA in government invested more than $130 million into the EIS between 2009 and 2017.
An ACIL Allen economic impact study published in 2015 found the scheme returned $23.7 million to the WA economy for every $1 million invested.
“So the extra $5 million in funding for the EIS is a no-brainer in terms of investment in our regions and our State,” Ms Davies said.
“We’d like this 50 per cent boost to remain a permanent fixture in the State Budget, not just for the 2020-21 financial year.”
Ms Davies said it was crucial to supercharge the EIS for industry, which was essentially propping up the program since the Labor Government started using mining tenement rates to fund the scheme.
“Some companies deferred exploration when COVID-19 hit, which was putting jobs and future development of the resources sector at risk,” she said.
“Stimulating small to medium companies to explore opportunities across WA will help maintain and create jobs, which is vitally important as the State enters a post-COVID-19 recovery phase.”