Trade Minister Craig Emerson
Trade Minister Craig Emerson Rob Williams

White paper fails to explore future of mining industry

FOR an industry largely dependent on the custom of Japan and the emerging Asian powerhouses of India and China, the new Federal Government roadmap to joining in the Asian boom was mostly quiet on mining.

Australian in the Asian Century - a wide ranging white paper report into how the nation must prepare for the new influence of Asia - trundles through the history of the industry in Australia but fails to explore its future.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson said this was because the paper was about preparing Australia to establish new markets, something the resources industry was quite adept at already.

He said mining and energy remained the foundation of how Australia did business with Asia, but the paper focused on new opportunities for food producers, manufacturers and service providers.

"Australia's mining companies are among the most reliable and efficient in the world," Mr Emerson said.

"They have played, and will continue to play, a central role in the industrialisation and urbanisation of Asian economies."

Mining's role in building a solid trade relationship with Asia was established long ago, he said.

Federal Mines Minister Martin Ferguson weighed in to say costs had to be kept down if the industry was to be strong to 2025.

Better training, less cumbersome approvals and access to skilled migrant workers were steps already being taken by the Federal Government."We as a nation must be conscious of the cost of delivering projects in Australia and the challenges this environment presents to potential investors," Mr Ferguson said.

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