Nats leader cops grilling at breakfast
WA Nationals Leader Brendon Grylls has declared his party the natural home of small business because of his plan to cut payroll tax for two years for 10,000 businesses, paid from money raised by his $5-a-tonne mining charge.
Mr Grylls made the claim at a business breakfast hosted by the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.
Mr Grylls, the invited guest, was criticised by his host before delivering his address.
CCI chief Deidre Willmott criticised Mr Grylls’ plan to hike the rental fee paid by iron ore miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto from 25¢ a tonne to $5, saying it would destroy jobs and investment.
Ms Willmott said the “core aspects” of the proposal had been misleadingly framed and the big two miners paid not just 25¢ a tonne but $19 a tonne in all taxes and royalties.
“In all, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have contributed $24 billion in WA State royalties in the past decade alone,” she said.
But Mr Grylls hit back, saying the CCI and Ms Willmott had “joined the multimillion-dollar alarmist campaign” mounted by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the mining industry.
Mr Grylls quoted former Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh’s comments that his company could “thrive” with iron ore prices at $US38 a tonne.
“If the industry was thriving at $US38, I don’t know how it is under enormous pressure at the current price of $US67 after a recent strong rally,” he said.
Mr Grylls said he would “seek a mandate” at the election to take his policy forward.
Nationals WA Leader Brendon Grylls at the party's business breakfast at Crown Perth last Tuesday.