Nats leader cops grilling at break­fast

Pilbara News - - News - Gareth Parker

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.

Pic­ture: Rueben Hale

Na­tion­als WA Leader Bren­don Grylls at the party's busi­ness break­fast at Crown Perth last Tues­day.

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