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Treasurer Jim Chalmers gave the keynote address to the Economic and Social Outlook Conference in Melbourne with an emphasis on critical minerals.

The address follows the Prime Minister’s announcement last week of a $4 billion investment into a specialised critical minerals facility.

“Our focus is on the development of industries that diversify our economy and make Australia more competitive in global markets, in an enduring and sustainable way,” Chalmers said.

“Refining and processing critical minerals will allow us to move up and along global supply chains to capture more of the value added.”

Chalmers said the Government has four priority areas underpinned by and dependant on abundant, cheap, reliable, renewable energy:

  • refining and processing critical minerals
  • supporting manufacturing of generation and storage technologies, including batteries
  • producing renewable hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia
  • forging green metals.

Chalmers underlined the importance of investing in green technologies in order to meet the demands of a clean energy push.

“Supporting manufacturing of generation and storage technologies will ensure our supply of more than half of the world’s battery minerals finds its way into home-grown advanced manufacturing, so more of the renewable energy technologies used in our transition are made in Australia,” he said.

“We will transform other industrial processes by using low-cost renewable energy to produce renewable hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia at some of the most competitive prices in the world– which will help us unlock a future in green metals, leveraging our abundance in iron ore and bauxite to become a leading producer of green iron, steel and alumina.”