Change of heart on Geoscience funds
Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism Martin Ferguson. Photo: Penny Bradfield
The federal government has reversed course and will increase rather than cut funding for Geoscience Australia, the federal body charged with mapping the country's resources.
The Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, announced on Wednesday that Geoscience would now receive an extra $114 million over four years to identify more of the mineral wealth.
''In many ways, we've hardly scratched the surface,'' he said.
Geoscience will receive $34 million in 2013-14 and $40 million for the following three years.
The funding had previously been budgeted to fall from $113.8 million in the current fiscal year to $98.8 million in 2013-14 and $88.4 million the following year.
The funding included $26 million a year to Geoscience for its pre-competitive data program to improve the knowledge of the resource base and open up opportunities for new resource projects, Mr Ferguson said.
The extra funds will also help contribute to the regular release of more acreage for exploration.
The additional money also includes $5 million in 2013-14, increasing to $8 million to enhance Geoscience's groundwater modelling capabilities.