7 June 2012
The warning signs are mounting against the Gillard Government’s complacency about the future of mining investment in Australia, with major multi-billion dollar projects hanging in the balance, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane said.
“While strong growth figures especially in the resources states are welcome, the clear message for the Gillard Government is that its strategy of slowing down the fast lane instead of putting in place policies to encourage growth in the slower lanes is reckless and jeopardises the Australian economy,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Major investors are delivering a clear wake-up call that the Gillard Government cannot take the sector for granted.
“BHP Billiton has flagged that it’s giving serious consideration to holding off on multi-billion dollar investments at Olympic Dam and Port Hedland due to a slowdown in China and falling commodity prices.
“On top of that comes the startling research from the nation’s chief business group, the Business Council of Australia, warning that resources projects are a whopping 40 per cent more expensive in Australia than in the US.
“In light of this evidence it is unbelievable Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan would continue to smugly trumpet the looming start date for the carbon tax and the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, both of which will damage Australia’s international competitiveness and make Australian mining projects even more expensive to deliver.
“Yes, the Australian resources sector is strong at the moment, but no matter how big the projects in the pipeline the Government cannot arrogantly assume that international investors won’t walk away and spend their cash elsewhere if the Government continues to undermine investment conditions and Australia’s sovereign risk profile.
“By persisting with their productivity-destroying taxes the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are showing either wilful blindness as to the damage their flawed taxes will cause, or are simply out of their depth in accepting the realities of international resources investment.
“Now, more than ever, the Australian resources sector and the Australian economy need a Government that understands the significance of energy and resources projects, not one that constantly turns to the sector to pump out more taxes.”