A report issued by The Australia Institute which outlines the value of State-based subsidies to the mining industry has stirred a proverbial hornet’s nest, with the premier of Western Australia labelling the report “nonsense”.
The report entitled Mining the Age of Entitlement states that Queensland has paid the largest subsidies to the mining industry in Australia, with $9.5 billion spent over the last six years.
Western Australia came in second with $6.2 billion over the last six years that was either paid directly to mining companies or spent on infrastructure used by mining companies.
The report shows that WA government allocated $1.4 billion to the industry in the 2013/14 budget, more than was allocated to the state police force which was allowed $1.3 billion.
Queensland has been identified in the report as planning to spend $1.5 billion on industry assistance in 2013/14, nearly 60 per cent of what it will receive in royalties.
The Australian Institute said this report was the first to put a dollar figure on the value of state assistance to the mining industry.
Nationwide, the states and territories have paid reported $17.6 billion to support the mineral and fossil fuel industries.
The West Australian reported WA premier Colin Barnett as saying “this report is nonsense”.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has dubbed the report “anti-mining”, with CEO Simon Bennison also deriding the report and its authors.
“There’s just no credibility in the document whatsoever,” Bennison said.
“The details of a lot of these numbers aren’t industry assistance.
“There’s a lot of figures in there that are quite misleading, even as far as calling refunds on fees and charges paid on tenements after they’ve been forfeited or shut down as being a subsidy, that’s just nonsense.
“The cost of running a [government] agency, if that’s industry assistance you may as well say investment in roads is industry assistance as well.
“That’s how distorted the whole thing has become, so the credibility is zip as far as we’re concerned.”