Miining Development, the Public Sector and The AusIMM - Issue and Future Directions

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
The mining of Australia's rich and diverse mineral resources has been central to the development of the continent by "Europeans" over the past two hundred years. Mining has historically been encouraged (to varying degrees) by development-orientated state governments (the. managers of largely Crown-owned resources) and since Federation, by successive Com- monwealth governments (which have seen mineral development as a means of generating export revenue to fund predominantly social-welfare orien- tated budgets). This marriage of convenience between governments and the mining industry has to date served all parties well. However, Australia's entry to a new world economic environment at a time that community percep- tions are changing (owing to an education-inspired challenge to "old" values) is challenging the hitherto held assumption that mining develop- ment is always aligned with the well-being of the State and community. Issues such as the type and extent of State/Commonwealth government taxation, resource ownership and control, the environment, land use con- flict, the extent and desirability of secondary processing and infrastruc- ture funding are being debated in the public arena. Opponents of mining in the community are well-organised and are well funded, articulate and more importantly, they have effective communication channels with most governments, irrespective of political complexion. Apart from some television-orientated corporate image building and recent efforts by AMIC, the industry's response to this challenge has been unco-ordinated, poorly directed and arguably ineffective. Professionals working in the industry are concerned about the community's perception of themselves and their industry. Recognizing that the Australian democratic system ensures that, in the large, government at its various levels, is reflective of and responsive to the views and aspirations of people, the industry's response must be wide- ranging, equally articulate and couched in a form which is politically acceptable. New objectives in providing information to the public and its educators must be formulated. Moreover, professionals are looking for new directions from industry leaders. The Institute is well placed to facilitate this process.
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