Grylls’ mine tax labelled a ‘nasty surprise’
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has slapped down Brendon Grylls’ proposal to increase iron ore royalties, saying he had “grave concerns” it would cost Australia investment and jobs.
The Queensland Nationals senator angered some Liberals last month by failing to denounce the proposal, touted by Mr Grylls since his return as WA Nationals leader, to increase royalties from 25¢ to $5 a tonne.
After separate meetings with industry representatives and the WA Nationals leader in Perth last week, Senator Canavan ventured some tougher criticism.
“I have grave concerns that the proposal damages our reputation as a stable destination for attracting investment and jobs,” he said.
“You need to curry favour over a long period of time with investors — nasty surprises are not a good idea.
“This is considered a nasty surprise for the industry and it’s something we have to be concerned about.”
Senator Canavan said the royalty rate was ultimately a matter for WA rather than the Commonwealth.
He praised Mr Grylls’ tenacity, commending him for agitating to get WA a better deal on GST distribution.
“Brendon is a fighter and people would be wise not to underestimate his fighting capabilities,” Senator Canavan said.
Even though Premier Colin Barnett has rejected Mr Grylls’ proposal, the targeted miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are taking it seriously and are lobbying to have it withdrawn.
Liberal WA senator Linda Reynolds said last week she knew that Senator Canavan and his Federal colleagues understood the importance of the resources sector and it was a shame the WA Nationals took a different approach.
“Comments that place such an important industry at risk are unwise at the best of times but particularly now,” she said.