Na­tion­als leader buoyed by forum sup­port for levy stance

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Ben Har­vey

WA Na­tion­als Leader Bren­don Grylls has been of­fered some free am­mu­ni­tion to add to his elec­tion cam­paign as the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy WA ramps up its at­tack on the $5-per-tonne iron ore levy pro­posal.

Mr Grylls hosted pub­lic fo­rums in Kar­ratha and Hed­land last week to an­swer ques­tions about the levy and other pol­icy ar­eas.

In Kar­ratha, a largely sup­port­ive 30-strong crowd in­stead of­fered ad­vice to the lo­cal mem­ber on how he could go about fight­ing back against the CME.

“The scare cam­paign at the mo­ment is that ‘we wont de­velop an­other mine, so you’re bug­gered’,” Mr Grylls said.

“The feed­back from a pretty di­verse room of Kar­ratha peo­ple is what a load of c..p.

“That mes­sage I heard tonight about how there is no way they will walk away from a ten­e­ment be­cause it would get given to some­one else is a re­ally pow­er­ful counter.

Mr Grylls was re­fer­ring to BHP Bil­li­ton’s claim the South Flank de­vel­op­ment would be put at risk due to pro­hib­i­tive costs should the levy go ahead.

He said the ma­jor min­ers could save money on roy­alty pay­ments if they ben­e­fi­ci­ated their ore.

“That down­stream pro­cess­ing is some­thing we would like to see in the Pil­bara and the com­pa­nies are ob­li­gated to do it un­der their State agree­ments,” Mr Grylls said.

The fo­rums are be­ing hosted ahead of the launch of CME WA’s next round of ad­ver­tis­ing against

the pro­posed $5 per tonne levy on BHP Bil­li­ton and Rio Tinto.

Details of the new ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign were out­lined in an email sent to mem­bers by the CME WA and ob­tained by The West Aus­tralian.

“The sec­ond phase of the cam­paign ... will fo­cus on the im­pact of the pro­posed tax on fam­i­lies and small to medium-sized busi­nesses,” CME WA boss Reg HowardSmith wrote.

“CME main­tains there is no room for the in­tro­duc­tion of a new tax on the WA re­sources sec­tor.”

Pic­ture: Mary Meagher

Na­tion­als WA leader Bren­don Grylls at the What's Down the Track Forum and Ex­hi­bi­tion in Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der.

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