Grylls, Alchin face off over mine tax rise

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Gary Ad­shead and Tom Zaun­mayr

It was 25 min­utes of Bren­don Grylls un­plugged and the main thing on his mind was 25¢ — the rental lease paid for each tonne of iron ore by min­ing com­pa­nies Rio Tinto and BHP Bil­li­ton.

“No one has been able to make an ar­gu­ment that the 25¢ spe­cial lease rental struck in 1964 should still be 25¢ to­day,” the Na­tion­als leader told a busi­ness break­fast last week.

“Even my po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents in the Pil­bara say it’s a bit of an anom­aly, but they’d rather not talk about it.”

Pil­bara Lib­eral can­di­date Mark Alchin said that as­ser­tion was ei­ther ig­no­rant or ar­ro­gant.

“We have been talk­ing about it for the past three months,” he said.

“It is a shame Bren­don only wants to lis­ten to his own voice.

“He knows the roy­alty rate dou­bled in 2013 on the fines, which has bought in over $1 bil­lion each year.

“With the ad­vent of au­to­ma­tion, all that means is peo­ple will be re­trained for higher skill jobs.”

Mr Grylls is stak­ing his ca­reer on a plan to make the big two min­ers pay $5 a tonne, and he turned up the vol­ume in front of cap­tains of in­dus­try.

“For the last six months you’ve been bom­barded with an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign from our po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, sorry, by the two big­gest com­pa­nies in Western Aus­tralia,” he said.

“We have been pushed, prod­ded and poked about our sig­na­ture pol­icy in a way we haven’t be­fore in an elec­tion cam­paign and so we should be.

“We have been asked to bend over and cough.”

Mr Grylls lam­pooned La­bor leader Mark McGowan’s strat­egy for pay­ing off WA’s $33 bil­lion debt “slowly” as “bull­dust”.

“I may not be a trained econ­o­mist, but Mark, you can’t slowly pay down debt when you have a Bud­get deficit,” Mr Grylls said.

“You can’t pay the mort­gage if you don’t have an in­come.”

He turned on his part­ners in Gov­ern­ment and the Premier for re­ject­ing the rental rise plan.

“Colin Bar­nett, the Lib­eral Premier, has bizarrely at­tempted to give the bal­ance of power to a po­lit­i­cal party that op­poses the cen­tral Bud­get pol­icy of the Lib­eral Party in the sale of 51 per cent of Western Power,” he said.

Mr Alchin said the min­ing tax was lit­tle more than a rev­enue source for Mr Grylls’ “spendathon”.

“He started this de­bate say­ing this was sup­posed to be about pay­ing down State debt,” he said.

“If you add up all he has com­mit­ted to, there is go­ing to be very lit­tle left in the piggy bank.

“Bren­don is great at us­ing com­pany credit cards but he hasn’t ac­tu­ally cre­ated any last­ing jobs once these project are com­pleted.”

Mr Alchin said the Premier had ruled out sup­port for many of Mr Grylls’ com­mit­ments, in­clud­ing his plan to re­duce air­fares.

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