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A ministerial roundtable including Federal, State and Territory Resources and Mining Ministers has found that the critical minerals sector is a national priority essential to Australia lowering emissions and achieving net zero commitments.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister, Madeleine King, hosted the roundtable in Perth on March 24 2023, where ministers agreed to coordinate efforts to support the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector.

“This was the first ministerial roundtable since 2020, and over the past three years global demand for Australia’s critical minerals has increased dramatically,” Ms King said. 

“Ministers agreed that the development of our critical minerals sector is a national priority which will lead to new economic opportunities, particularly for regional Australia, and will help produce the materials needed to lower emissions in Australia and around the world.”

Ms King said Australia has vast reserves of the critical minerals that were essential for net zero technologies such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, battery storage and solar panels.

“The road to global net zero passes through Australia’s resources industry and our emerging critical minerals sector,” Ms King said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated the world needs to rapidly build secure and resilient supply chains for the critical minerals to meet global demand for low-emissions technologies.

Ms King said the ministerial roundtable discussed how governments could support the growth of Australia’s critical minerals sector by ensuring projects are approved in a timely manner and rigorous protections for the environment and communities are in place.

Ministers also discussed the importance of developing policies to encourage investment in critical minerals and processing infrastructure, and highlighted the need for further efforts in exploration and creating common user infrastructure.

Ms King said ministers agreed to use the ministerial roundtable as a regular meeting to foster collaboration, growth and investment in the critical minerals sector.

The Australian Government is developing a new Critical Minerals Strategy to be released in 2023. Ms King said the ministerial roundtable was an opportunity to ensure the new strategy draws on expert views and knowledge across all Australian states and territories.

Ms King was joined at the roundtable by ministers from the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Ministers from Victoria and New South Wales were not represented due to unavailability and the state election campaign currently underway, respectively.

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