Miners claim higher local content levels than Government

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The mining industry says it’s already sourcing almost 90 per cent of its goods and services from Australian companies, which is far better than the Federal Government’s record.

The industry claims hit back at Prime Minister Gillard’s threat last Friday that miners would lose tariff concessions unless they could prove local companies were given a fair chance to compete with foreign exports.

Minerals Council public affairs director Ben Mitchell told ABC radio recent studies pointed to high levels of local content employed by mining companies.

“The data in the marketplace shows that mining is doing quite well,” he said.

“A report produced for the steel industry shows that mining is buying about 88 per cent of goods and services locally.”

He said the current local content level used by the mining industry was significantly higher than what the Government used for its projects, and the current controversy over the levels was suffering from a lack of information.

“The key point to make is 88 per cent local content based on historical averages is fairly high in comparative terms and that compares to around 69 per cent for government,” he said.

“I think some facts injected into this debate would be helpful.”

Mitchell said mining companies always looked to local firms first for the supply and service of their projects.

“If it’s competitively priced, if the supply metrics can be met, then any business would look locally ahead of imported product,” he said.

Minister for industry Kim Carr said regardless of the level of local content used, all Australian companies should be doing more to engage local firms.

“I think we could do much better to ensure there were more local firms partnering with major international companies not just in resources sector but with major international projects,” he said.

Last week Gillard said moves to cut the tariff concessions of miners that did not give local companies a reasonable chance to compete were about giving Australian businesses a fair go.

“If you want Australian taxpayer dollars, then you’re going to have to give Australian businesses a fair chance to compete for work,” she said.

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