Report says miners exaggerate their importance

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A new report by the Australia Institute released today claims Australians have been deceived into believing the mining industry employs nine times more workers and accounts for three times as much economic activity as it actually does.

In its annual conference in Sydney today the AI will argue the mining industry has wildly exaggerated its importance while ignoring the negative side of the resources boom.

The report claims 83 per cent of the mining industry’s profits are sent offshore and only a small number of Australian investors enjoy large benefits from the rising share prices of big miners.

It said the mining boom had contributed to a rising dollar, higher interest rates, and the loss of jobs in other sectors, but this had been ignored by resources companies.

It is the second controversial report today by the left-leaning think tank, which has also released a paper claiming mining companies pay a tax rate of 13.9 per cent, rather than the 42.2 per cent suggested by Deloitte on Monday.

A spokesperson for the mining industry’s peak body, the Minerals Council of Australia, told The Australian the AI’s report was biased and inaccurate.

“The Australia Institute has dressed up its ingrained prejudice against the mining industry in a deeply flawed report that flies in the face of common sense and established facts,” he said.

The AI report claimed from a survey of 1400 people, respondents believed the mining industry employed 16 per cent of the workforce, when according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures the real number is 1.9 per cent.

The survey also found respondents thought mining accounted for 35 per cent of the nation’s economic activity, whereas ABS numbers showed the real figure was 9.2 per cent.

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