Miners will use Aussie goods or suffer: Gillard

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard says mining companies will lose lucrative tariff concessions unless they can prove local suppliers have been given every chance to compete with foreign imports.

Gillard’s crackdown on miners today follows a similar Government announcement stipulating that any project receiving more than $20 million in commonwealth funding will have to list its Australian suppliers.

The tougher mining regulations will force companies with projects worth more than $2 billion to publish a list of their requirements on a public website.

Canberra will then monitor the list and keep tabs on resource companies, regularly checking to see what efforts they are making to use local suppliers.

If companies fail to follow the rules they will lose the 5 per cent tariff concession on their imported goods.

Gillard made the announcements at the end of the one-day jobs forum in Canberra yesterday.

The forum was driven by manufacturing companies and unions, which are concerned about the mining industry’s use of foreign suppliers.

She said the new rules would make the mining boom fairer for local companies, according to The West Australian.

“This is all about giving Australian business the fair go that it deserves,” she said.

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

Union and manufacturing representatives said the plans would save local jobs and help lift the low local content levels on some projects.

Mining companies are blaming the high Australian dollar and the inability of local companies to be competitive as reasons for using foreign goods.

The Minerals Council said resource companies already used significant levels of local goods and services.

It said the Reserve Bank recently found that over the life of iron ore projects, up to 80 per cent of the investment was sourced locally.