Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has used an award acceptance speech to ask Australian governments to ‘come to the party’ and reduce regulatory burdens.
In Hong Kong to accept a lifetime award at the Mines and Money conference, Rinehart said the mining industry would benefit if “onerous government regulations and delays” were reduced, especially in the light of falling commodity prices.
“(Australian governments) need to recognise that they need to come to the party and recognise falling commodity prices, and cut the horrific expense of their regulations and compliance burdens,” Rinehart said.
“Are they? Big question, hard to see real progress, and doubt we will unfortunately, until companies and concerned Australians drive the cutting program.”
Rinehart said her $10 billion Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara had been forced to receipt over 4000 approvals, permits and licences and warned Australia risked losing investment to international competitors unless regulation was reduced.
“Australia needs to learn more from countries who have been successful in increasing economic growth and raising the living standards of their people,” she said.
Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine is now more than 76 per cent complete, with the project targeting its first shipment of iron ore in September.
However, the price of iron ore is 40 per cent lower now than when construction start on the project, with the commodity dropping to a new six-year low of $US54.10 a tonne last week.
Roy Hill Holdings chief executive Barry Fitzgerald has said he wished the price of iron ore was higher, but said the company always planned to be a low-cost producer.
This is not the first time Rinehart has hit out at the government for over-regulating the mining industry.
Rinehart has previously stated that making Australia an attractive investment destination was critical, adding it is an issue of which “too few Australians are realising the consequences".
Rinehart said the mining sector was often the target of misinformation by those committed to stalling development.
"My question to the short-sighted is, do you really think we could survive without mining?
"If they are honest, the answer is no," Rinehart said.