Australian companies will get more taxpayer support to take their place in the world’s new energy and high-tech economy if the Morrison government is re-elected.

Federal subsidies to reinvent fossil fuels and mine new minerals, announced on the campaign trail on Tuesday, have been welcomed by industry.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Deputy Chief Executive Damian Dwyer said the policy announcement recognises the importance of gas for decades into the future.

“This greater certainty for industry will be critical for Australia’s economic recovery and commitment to decarbonise as part of a cleaner energy future,” Mr Dwyer told AAP.

As well as bankrolling a new era for fossil fuels, support will go to unlock the critical minerals needed for wind and solar components, pumped hydro widgets, electric vehicle batteries, defence technologies and future high-tech communications.

Up to $40 million has been earmarked for Woodside Energy’s Burrup carbon capture and storage (CCS) and transport project, and up to $20 million will support the design and construction of Japanese giant Mitsui’s Mid West CCS hub.

Oil and gas exploration and production company Buru Energy will get up to $7 million to assess the potential for onshore storage in the Carnarvon Basin.

The Burrup and Mid West hubs will cut greenhouse gas emissions by a combined 7.4 million tonnes per year from 2028, drive more than $1 billion of investment and will create more than 2000 jobs, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Under a national strategy, Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050.

Up to $70 million will support BP Australia’s $250 million-plus H2Kwinana Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub.

The Western Australian Government’s Pilbara Hydrogen Hub will also receive up to $70 million from federal coffers.

Two early stage projects will get grants of up to $3 million – Engie Hydrogen’s green hydrogen hub in the Pilbara and Santos’ Carnarvon hydrogen engineering design work.

Other winners include Western Australia’s Curtin University, the University of Queensland and James Cook University and a new business and research partnership they will build across the critical mineral supply chain.

The focus will be on developing new technology that will help Australia to establish competitive advantages in key areas, including nickel, cobalt and lithium supply.

Industry partners have promised $144 million in co-investment, matching public funding more than two to one.

These projects build on a recent $1.25 billion federal loan to ASX-listed Iluka Resources, to develop Australia’s first integrated rare earths refinery at Eneabba in Western Australia.

Mr Dwyer said the federal support would also grow regional jobs and bolster national energy security.


Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)