Record commodity prices has driven Australia’s prosperity, transitioning a country which “rode on the sheep’s back” to a nation which is heavily reliant on mining and the sectors related industries, mining magnate Gina Rinehart says.
Rinehart has today used her address at the Australian Mines and Metals Association’s conference to highlight the flow on affects mining has on other critical sectors including construction, transport, and hospitality.
“Without the mining industry, at least one third of most accounting and legal firms would shrink,” she said.
“It’s the same story with other industries – airlines and charters, hotels, restaurants, catering, equipment maintenance, consultancies, engineering services, geological services, testing laboratories, office supplies, cars and – well, where do I stop?
“And let’s not forget that without the miners and all these related industries, where would bureaucracies be? And where, exactly, would they get their money for schools, hospitals, roads, defence and much more,” Rinehart said.
The country’s richest lady went on to highlight the sector’s high tax contributions, saying that BHP alone paid about $9 billion in taxes and royalties last year, or about the same as what the Federal Government spent on higher education.
In her video address she claims that without mining and related industries Australia would have “no hope of repaying our record debt, without facing the problems Greece and other countries faced with over spending and consequent debt traumas”.
She warned the government that is they want mining to deliver more taxes “they can’t discourage investment needed to first earn what they want to take”.
“Investment needs to be welcomed; our country must compete against all others for investment,” Rinehart said.
“Tax increases can destroy businesses, and that means less taxes and fewer jobs. And less opportunities.”
Some of these opportunities, according to Rinehart are in the country’s north which has abundant water and under-utilised land.
She suggests a special economic zone be established in the northern reaches of Australia to encourage investment and development, transforming the region into a productive food bowl and source of minerals.
“The north has the potential to develop beyond our imaginations,” she said.