Miners and Nationals in ore tax war
Australia’s mining industry has declared war on WA Nationals’ new $5-a-tonne iron ore tax, despite party leader Brendon Grylls’ doubts about the $19-atonne figure that has been presented.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy has launched a campaign in partnership with Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and the Minerals Council of Australia, to convince voters of the destructive impact of the tax.
Chamber chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said it was incumbent on the organisation to launch the campaign before the March State Election.
“This is a tax which will place the WA iron ore industry in an uncompetitive position,” he said.
“It is an uncompetitive proposal in times when this is the last thing you need to be doing when you need to be encouraging investment and encouraging jobs.”
The advertisements claim the companies pay $19 a tonne in taxes and royalties. It is understood the $19 figure is a three-year average for Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, including income tax, royalties and lease payments.
The WA Nationals have focused on the iron ore production fee, with a plan to increase the 25¢-a-tonne fee to $5 a tonne.
Mr Grylls questioned the $19a-tonne claim, saying he suspected most of it was Commonwealth taxes.
“Until they have actually broken that number down, it is a bit of an irrelevant figure,” he said.
“If the CME want to publish figures for West Australians to see, they need to break those figures down to make it clear what West Australians receive, ” he said.
“I accept the miners pay taxes but they can afford an increase to a 25¢ special lease rental that has never been increased.”
This is a tax which will place the WA iron ore industry in an uncompetitive position. Reg Howard-Smith