Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak at this Connect event hosted by APPEA. I'm sorry I couldn't join you in person, but it's a sitting week here in Canberra. I want to congratulate APPEA for doing this innovative style of announcing this acreage release through a live stream and congratulations to Andrew McConville and all his team.
The acreage release process for the Australian government is an incredibly important way of how we attract investment in our petroleum sector. We have attracted enormous amounts of investment in the oil and gas sector over the last 50 years and in the last decade over $200 billion has been invested in oil and gas in Australia, taking Australia to be the world's largest LNG exporter. This year's release is particularly exciting because it's our biggest release this century, with 64 separate acreage release areas. This is the biggest release we've done since the year 2000.
This year's release takes place over 120,000 square kilometres across the Bonaparte, North Carnarvon, Gippsland and the Otway basins and Browse Basins. We're very focused on the Browse Basin. This investment also this year, this release this year is different in a number of ways. We're trying to improve the acreage release programme, particularly given exploration has fallen for the last few years. We're trying to rejuvenate the process. We're trying to make it more responsive to market needs, make it more transparent to the public and also simplify the overall process for acreage release. And I very much hope you can participate in this year's exciting release.
So many of these areas that we're releasing go across northern Australia. I'm the Minister for Northern Australia as well, and the Government is very focused on developing new economic opportunity in northern Australia in places like the Bonaparte, Browse and North Carnarvon Basins. The Government has additional funding to help spur economic development in northern Australia, including investment in infrastructure or helping businesses set up. And so I encourage you if you were in these areas to explore those opportunities with the Government specifically as well. And all of that extra investment is a key part of what the Government wants to achieve for the resources sector.
I see as my most important role as the Minister for Resources is to attract investment, to create jobs and opportunity for all Australians. That's why this year I released a National Resources Statement to do that very thing - with its first priority to maintain Australia as a destination for attractive and competitive investment in the resources sector, to build a strong workforce to supply that sector, to build on our research and development needs, and to make sure that the investment in our resources sector does benefit regional communities and indigenous Australians too.
Thank you so much for so many of you have participated in acreage release in the past, and indeed those that have made significant investments in Australia. We very much appreciate your partnership. We hope that you can participate this year in this year's release and get your bids in by March next year, because I'd love to do further business with you and create further opportunities for both you and for all Australians.
View the video: APPEA Connect - Minister Canavan's address.