Why superfunds should invest in resources

Jun 27, 2023

NORTH Queensland is the key to achieving the nation’s goals of developing critical mineral industries for batteries, EVs and technology, and reducing emissions; however, the government’s bureaucracy is the barrier, Katter’s Australian Party MP Bob Katter says.

In just over 12 months of power, the Federal Government has on numerous occasions praised the resources sector for its contribution towards “building the nation,” and underwriting “so much of our prosperity today.”

“They tell us the industry will ‘continue to be the backbone of our economy’,” Mr Katter said.

“But what do they actually have to show for it, what have they built?”

Mr Katter said it was concerning in the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, the resources minister recognised the need to attract “investment and build international partnerships,” yet did not mention government investment.

Mr Katter said the government had the power to indirectly invest in the sector by introducing the “60/40 rule” stipulating 60 per cent of superannuation funds be directed into revenue-generating, government secured projects, rather than into the share market, which accounted for 53 per cent of super investments in March 2023.

He said he also recognised the need for international investment in resources.

“Whilst undoubtedly Japanese and Korean interests want security of supply and are entitled to an ownership stake in their supply source, our government should play a part,” he said.

“Except in the iron ore industry, there’s been no mining development of significance in Australia in the past 10 years.

“Apart from having to torpedo your way through reams of bureaucratic barbwire and entanglements, you’d expect some commitment by governments in projects that are going to yield hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue as well as mining royalties.

“At the very least they could direct, with government securities attached, super funds to invest in the resources sector.”

It comes as the Queensland State Government recently announced geotechnical and engineering contracts for the 1100km CopperString Townsville to Mount Isa transmission line – a project set to power the region’s renewable energy and minerals industries. However, it remains with an “expected” start date of 2024.[1]

“The start time should be next month, we just can’t move at this speed,” Mr Katter, who fought for the project for over a decade said.

“We have got tens of thousands of jobs in vanadium, lithium, copper, fertiliser, super cheap electricity ready to go out there.”

Among those projects, waiting for CopperString, include the Hughenden Irrigation project’s hydroelectric component, it includes Cloncurry’s Eva Copper Mine project, the Richmond-Julia Creek Vanadium Project and the Wongalee and Prairie wind farms.

“There is not a reason in the bloody world why they can’t put up 100 pylons before now and the end of the year; except for of course, government rigmarole.

“There are Australians struggling and we have governments incapable of making decisions, incapable of action and in this case, just sticking a few pylons in the ground already.”



[1]CIMIC Group companies UGL and CPB Contractors awarded contract for CopperString engineering and geotechnical work | Townsville Bulletin