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BHP president Australia Geraldine Slattery told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) business summit the mining industry needs to “recapture” its competitiveness.

Slattery emphasised the Australian mining sector operates in a global economic context – one that “is transforming at pace”.

“The strategic purpose of our aspirations, and the quality of our plans for growth are the vital enablers of Australia’s ongoing economic prosperity and security,” she said.

“For Australia to capture its share – and more – of economic opportunity we must be purposeful and ambitious.”

Slattery said the future will depend on mining, but that the industry is on the precipice of a shift in the way mining is done.

“Our current state is that a key strength underwriting Australia’s prosperity in past decades – large easy-to-access deposits of iron ore, metallurgical coal, and natural gas – will not be sufficient to sustain us through future decades,” she said.

“Global competition is fierce, and markets are unforgiving. Yet, there is much evidence that Australia’s endowment of minerals and resources can continue be a cornerstone of aspiration and growth.”

Slattery said there are a handful of core fundamentals that go to the heart of  Australia’s ability to compete in the global arena.

“Investing in technology and strategic infrastructure will unlock new avenues for growth across the economy. This is especially true in our regional communities,” she said.

“Investing in skills and innovation where Australians have the capabilities required the lead the next generation of technologies and systems.

“Streamlining approvals and permitting – without reducing standards – for new projects will create jobs and opportunities including for small, local and Indigenous businesses.

“And finally, ensuring we have stable and globally competitive policy, regulatory and fiscal settings across all jurisdictions will provide the certainty for investment in all of the above.”

Closing her address, Slattery called on the Australian mining industry to take its own future in hand.

“We must recognise the reality of where we are today. And in everything we do, we should challenge ourselves with a fundamental question: Will this make Australia more competitive?”