Australia's resources sector has become "fat and lazy" and it shouldn't let lower commodity prices curb expansion and investment, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.
Mr Ferguson told the Citi Australian and Asian G10 Rates Conference in Sydney that the sector had the opportunity to maintain or expand exports despite the declining market.
"We must remain at the top of the game, delivering high quality goods and services that our export markets want, when they want them," he said today.
The Minister said the end of high commodity prices wasn't the end of the mining boom, but the sector needed to remain competitive.
"This is not a green light for us as a nation to remain complacent," Mr Ferguson said.
"Record commodity prices, I think, allowed us to become fat and lazy in terms of not managing our projects as best we could."
He said Australia was in an enviable position with its Asian export markets, but needed to focus on reducing cost and improving productivity.
"There are few better places prepared for the Asian century than Australia," Mr Ferguson told the conference.
"Australia's resources industry has many years of opportunities to come ... but we need to match world's best prices and maintain our reputation for reliability and meet volume requirements."
During his address, the Minister also downplayed concerns high-volume LNG exports would result in domestic gas shortages.
"We do not have a shortage of potential gas in Australia," he said.
A highly interventionist gas policy by the government was not conducive to gas projects and investment opportunities, he said.