The chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), Simon Bennison, has labelled the speculated increases in mining royalties as damaging.
Western Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell last week agreed with an assessment from Federal Treasury Secretary Dr Ken Henry that royalties were too low.
In a statement, Bennison said the comments were “extremely unhelpful” and have “led to very predictable and damaging speculation of an imminent rise in the State tax.”
“Although Treasurer Buswell said he will not be drawn on likely changes in the 2010 State budget, he is certainly speculating on increases in revenue from royalties,” Bennison said.
“While the Treasurer did avoid making any specific statement about the Government’s plans to alter Royalties, it does not take a genius to join the dots that he left in full daylight.”
According to Bennison, the speculation would only erode the already fragile confidence of investors.
“Given the industry that delivers the largest source of income to WA’s budget is just starting to emerge from a disastrous global financial crisis, this kind of speculation is very damaging,” he said.
“Investors are nervous.
“Speculation of a regime change creates further angst and will prompt some investors to put their money in the bank rather than backing projects.
“We urge senior Government officials to carefully consider their public remarks and bare in mind at all times that Australian resource companies are competing with many other attractive jurisdictions for investment and ultimately, jobs.”