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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1374


Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital TerritoryAssistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation) (13:08): The government doesn't support the amendment proposed by the Greens, which would exclude exploration or prospecting for thermal coal, typically used for power generation, from the junior minerals exploration incentive. In line with the exploration development incentive, the JMEI is designed to encourage greenfields exploration for minerals, excluding petroleum and oil shale. Much of Australia's petroleum and oil exploration occurs offshore. However, this incentive is focused on encouraging exploration onshore. The government does not support unnecessarily narrowing the JMEI based on anti-coal rhetoric. Narrowing the scheme would deny junior explorers the ability to convert a tax loss from exploration or prospecting for thermal coal into a tax benefit that can be distributed to new investors. This would detract from the scheme's objective, which is to contribute to a better investment climate in the sector and an improved likelihood of mineral discovery for the benefit of the Australian economy and the benefit of jobs in the Australian economy. We therefore oppose the amendment.