Now as we find ourselves staring down a May 21 Federal Election, Resource Industry Network is calling on political parties to demonstrate their support of SMEs across the mining supply chain by backing a range of initiatives that will keep our sector flourishing into the future, as well as provide every opportunity for our innovative region to deliver solutions that address Net Zero carbon emissions targets. The value of the resources industry and its supply chain should not be underestimated. The latest Queensland Resources Council data shows that the resources industry contributes $18 billion in economic contributions to the Mackay region, which equates to 73 per cent of the region’s total gross regional product. It also supports more than 82,000 jobs locally. Let that data sink it for a moment. But wait, there’s more. The Queensland data reveals resources adds $84.3 billion in economic contributions, supports one in every six jobs, as well as helping fund education, roads, law and order, and health, by contributing $2.5 billion in royalties. The Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region is a globally renowned innovative METS hub servicing many international markets. It is the backbone of the Australian resources industry and the go-to destination for METS expertise across the globe. It has continuously demonstrated resilience in the face of weather events, pandemics, supply chain issues, mining cycles, and even during times of war. It must be supported, protected, and incentivised by programs that encourage growth and diversification, and policies that remove impediments to doing business. Resources, and by default the METS sector, has largely supported all levels of the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic and keeping the sector strong is critical to the future of Australia. As the peak body representing the resources supply chain in this region, Resource Industry Network is urging support for SMEs in the following areas: Adopting innovation and digital transformation Support and education for the decarbonisation journey Development, support, and education on future skills Funding to grow and support the export capability Improvements to red tape that decreases mining approvals timelines and the ability to do business Innovation and digital transformation of the sector continues to change the nature of work in mining, which means the development of skills is needed to align with this shift. We are also at a crossroads when it comes to labour shortages and a lack of skilled workers, and the position we find ourselves in has the ability to cause a ripple effect across many other facets of mining, as well as other industries. As an industry driven by solutions, we are in turn looking for solutions from our political parties to address all these critical areas in the mining supply chain and invite discussions with all parties.