Katter defends mining from Greens assault

The Greens say the mining industry is crippling Queensland’s agriculture and mining sectors by pushing up the Australian dollar.

Greens mining spokesperson Larissa Waters said yesterday that only four per cent of Queenslanders were employed in mining, and that the sector was responsible for inflating the dollar and crippled other industries, the North West Star reported.

“Mining doesn’t create jobs, it only takes them from other industries, as Treasury has confirmed,” Waters said.

“Those other industries, especially agriculture and manufacturing, also suffer from the increased Australian dollar pushed up by mining.

"The social and economic impacts of mining are doing lasting damage and come on top of damage to the environment, which underpins a healthy economy and a healthy society."

An Australian Greens representative claimed even Mount Isa was concerned with the affects of the mining industry, making reference to a FIFO submission made by the council of Mount Isa late last year.

The submission outlined the negative affects of a FIFO workforce could have on communities.

However, State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter defended the mining industry in the state.

"Pinning the high Australian dollar on the mining industry is misleading and does not attribute to the true culprits being consecutive policies of Liberal and Labor, that inflated dollar is far more influenced by the high interest rates fuelled by foreign investors who use money for speculation on property and shares," he said.

"This is a dangerous and misleading assertion from a dangerous group of people that will drive our national prosperity into the ground if left unchecked.

"The dollar should be lowered by lowering interest rates and not by an all-out assault on the mining industry.
"Australian industry competes with overseas interest rates some 200 to 300 per cent lower which is an insurmountable advantage and is simply not sustainable."

According to research from The Australia Institute, the mining boom has cost farmers $61.5 billion export income after pushing the Australian dollar to historic highs.

In a statement, the TAI said its research showed farmer’ export earning had dropped 47 per cent since the mining boom ramped up in 2003 – 04.

“The mining boom is great if you work in the mining industry. But for other sectors in the Australian economy which rely on export earnings the boom has come at an enormous cost,” TAI senior economist Matt Grudnoff said.

“Our farmers are price-takers not price-setters. This has meant that the surge in the Australian dollar due to the mining boom has had the knock-on effect of reducing the value of their exports.”

Grudnoff also said the beef and veel industry had suffered greatly, along with the sugar sector.

“For the Australian economy to remain strong it needs to have many viable industries,” he said.

“If the mining boom is allowed to ruin the rural sector then who will be left to fill the employment gap when the mining boom ends.

“History is full of examples of economies that failed because they were too reliant on a few industries.”

The think tank's current executive director, Richard Denniss, formerly worked as a strategy advisor for the Greens.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.