Funding for the Coal Sector Jobs Package, which provides transitional assistance to the Australian coal industry to adjust to the impacts of the carbon price, has been reduced by $274 million over the final two years of the program (2015/16 and 2016/17). The reduction reflects the projected drop in the carbon price during the flexible price period to $12.10. This funding reduction is likely to have little impact on coal production as assistance will be reviewed in line of any changes to the carbon price.
Indirectly, both industries will be affected by the $38.5 million in funding allocated to amend the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to include coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which have a significant impact on water resources. This reform recognises the greater emphasis the Government is placing on water footprinting, following increased social pressure on the management of groundwater contamination as part of developing a strong ‘social licence to operate’. The reform indicates the growing public perception of the linkages between the two industries, and the need for innovative solutions for managing legislated wastewater disposal requirements.
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