INDUSTRY groups have welcomed the allocation of an additional $100.5 million over four years to Geoscience Australia as the agency aims to extend its mapping services across northern Australia and South Australia.

The money will be used to produce geographical modelling of mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources in targeted areas, helping to identify greenfield exploration sites for future development.

Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future program is set to release the exploration data, which will cover areas of the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, over the next four years.

Chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Malcolm Roberts welcomed the investment in what he said was a year of modest fiscal consolidation.

“APPEA is pleased that the government recognises the need for further investment to reverse the significant fall in petroleum exploration in Australia’s onshore and offshore basins,” he said.

“The challenging conditions facing the industry, both globally and in Australia, mean it is more important than ever to ensure the policy and regulatory framework facing the oil and gas industry in Australia remains competitive and encourages further exploration and development activity.”

“This investment will continue to underpin Australia’s economic performance and provide benefits to Australia for many decades to come,” Dr Roberts said.

The government will also provide $23.8 million over four years from to support Australia working to meet the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) oil stockholding requirements, it announced.

The funding will cater for the development of a collective action response mechanism, the establishment of an Energy Security Office in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the establishment of a counsellor position to represent Australia’s interests at the IEA in Paris.

Funding of $6.2 million in both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 has already been provided for by the government.