A particularly colourful war of words has erupted between Australia’s peak mining bodies and The Australia Institute (TAI) over a report released today that accuses the resources industry of milking the country dry.
The TAI report titled “Age of Entitlement Lives On” claims the Queensland resources sector digs the deepest into the tax-payer purse taking a cool$9.5 billion in government hand-outs, followed by Western Australia at $6.2 billion.
In total, the Australian mining industry has relieved the government of$17.6 billion over a six-year period, not including significant Federal government support and subsidies,” the report claims.
The Queensland Resources Council has hit back with head honcho, Michael Roche, saying, “TAI has produced some howlers in the past but today’s effort takes the cake.”
“The Australia Institute has outdone itself with an economic analysis of the Queensland resources sector that would embarrass the North Korean government.”
‘The report details all manner of state government business expenditure but completely ignores the other side of the balance sheet.”
The NSW Minerals Council joined in the thumping by saying, “”This latest report should be released while wearing a leather jacket and on water skis.”
“Another week, another dodgy anti-mining report from the Australia Institute. This pseudo-political outfit is becoming desperate in its attacks…”
“It’s time the Australia Institute was recognised for what it is – an anti-mining pseudo-political organisation dressed up as a think-tank.”
The report makes a number of assertions including that profits of mining expansion are going offshore, with estimates suggesting foreign interests effectively own four fifths of Australian mining operations.
Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director of The Australia Institute, said,“Almost $18 billion dollars has been spent over the past 6 years by State governments, supporting some of Australia’s biggest, most profitable industries, which are sending most of the profits offshore.
“Queensland will spend as much supporting the mining industry as it does supporting some of its most vulnerable citizens. Government funding and assistance provided to the minerals and fossil fuel industries in Queensland in 2013-14 is similar to the amount spent on disability services and capital expenditure on hospitals.”
“Industry assistance in Western Australia is substantial when compared to police and health, and in New South Wales, it is comparable to other important budget items such as managing the state’s national parks and providing accommodation for those with disabilities.”
“Supporters of Australia’s mineral and fossil fuel industries argue that they provide value in royalties, jobs and economic prosperity but our research exposes these claims as fundamentally flawed.
“In fact, States repay much of what they receive in royalties back to these industries in the form of assistance and funding, particularly in the big mining states of Queensland and Western Australia.
“In 2013-14 Queensland plans to spend $1.5 billion on industry assistance, which is almost 60 per cent of what it will receive in royalties.
“State governments are usually associated with the provision of essential services like health and education so it will shock taxpayers to learn of the massive scale of government handouts to the minerals and fossil fuel industries.
“That billions of dollars have been poured into companies which for the most part are foreign-owned is even more alarming in light of the recent budget cuts to average Australians.
“This report shows that Australian taxpayers have been misled about the costs and benefits of this industry, which we can now see are grossly disproportionate.