Senators renew call for iron ore inquiry
Durack MP Melissa Price has poured cold water on a renewed push for an inquiry into the iron ore price collapse.
Senator Nick Xenophon and Senate candidate Luke Bolton renewed the push for an inquiry into the collapse and its impact on WA after first calling for it in May last year.
Ms Price said the iron ore industry operated within a global free market and as long as laws were complied with the Government had no intention of interfering. “There is no doubt that the highly competitive global resources industry is facing shortterm challenges,” she said.
“As the chief economist of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has recently noted, slower economic growth in emerging economies is likely to limit consumption growth and a significant price recovery for commodities in the short term.”
Mr Xenophon said there was initially support for the inquiry by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey, but claimed it was “killed off ” after lobbying by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Gina Rinehart.
“WA is doing it tough with the collapse in the iron ore price and if there is any suggestion it has come about as a result of calculated moves to dump capacity on the open market then Australians need to know,” he said. Mr Bolton said it was important to find out if WA had been “short-changed” by big miners flooding the market with iron ore.
“If WA has been dudded then that’s hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been put into hospitals, roads and schools,” he said.
“Last year the major parties weren’t prepared to stand up to the vested interests by supporting a straight forward Senate inquiry.”
The collapse in the price of iron ore from $180 to $40 in the past two years has caused a multibillion-dollar hit to Australia’s economy and to WA in particular.