Mine lobby spent $4.3m in Grylls war

Pilbara News - - News - Dy­lan Ca­porn

The min­ing lobby group that went to war against for­mer Na­tion­als leader Bren­don Grylls has fi­nally re­vealed it spent $4.3 mil­lion cam­paign­ing against in­creased lease charges — more than dou­ble pre­vi­ous es­ti­mates.

The to­tal spent by the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy on the sin­gle-is­sue cam­paign was al­most as much as La­bor ($4.6 mil­lion) and the Lib­er­als ($4.9 mil­lion) spent on their Statewide elec­tion cam­paigns and makes it the most ex­pen­sive non-po­lit­i­cal party cam­paign in WA’s his­tory.

In­cluded in the to­tal was al­most $2.4 mil­lion spent on TV and ra­dio ad­ver­tis­ing, $675,000 on pro­duc­ing the ad­ver­tise­ments and $270,000 on news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ments.

The lobby group also spent $560,000 on con­sul­tants and $450,000 on opin­ion polling in the cam­paign, which ran from Novem­ber to the March 11 elec­tion.

The cam­paign against the Na­tion­als’ pro­posal to lift the spe­cial iron ore lease rental from 25¢ to $5 a tonne, which tar­geted Mr Grylls’ Pil­bara elec­torate, was equally backed by BHP and Rio Tinto to the tune of $2.18 mil­lion each.

In light of the fig­ures, Na­tion­als leader Mia Davies de­scribed the cam­paign as a “se­ri­ous and de­lib­er­ate in­ter­ven­tion into the po­lit­i­cal process by a vested com­mer­cial in­ter­est, the size and likes of which has never been wit­nessed be­fore in WA”.

The cham­ber came un­der fire last week for not lodg­ing the in­for­ma­tion with the WA Elec­toral Com­mis­sion be­fore the dead­line.

Cham­ber chief ex­ec­u­tive Reg Howard-Smith said it was a re­gret­table over­sight and as soon as the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­came aware, it lodged the form.

Mr Howard-Smith said the cham­ber stood by the cam­paign be­cause of the po­ten­tial neg­a­tive ef­fect of the iron ore tax on the WA econ­omy.

In­cluded . . . was al­most $2.4 mil­lion on TV and ra­dio ad­ver­tis­ing.

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