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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 3989


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

 


Mr HAYDEN - Two questions arise in my mind, they are: Firstly, do we still need these incentives which are borne at public expense? Secondly, is it appropriate at this time to continue- -providing incentives to exploit our minerals at a hastening rate, because that is the nature of an incentive? In other words, should we be reassessing the practices and attitudes of this country towards its exhaustible mineral deposits? The first matter is whether we can give these cash incentives as such to these firms to encourage them to operate in Australia. Do they need this sort of substantial subsidy? The following table shows the net consolidated profit of various companies after tax but before any distribution has Men made for 1970:

 

All of these organisations are making substantial profits. The table which I incorporated in Hansard a few moments ago shows the tremendous upsurge which has occurred in the output of minerals in the period during which this benefit has been in operation. For instance, in 1944 the production of bauxite was 3,800 tons and and in 1970 it had risen to 9.2 million tons. Given that and given the sort of profits that companies like Comalco are able to make from the extraction and processing of bauxite, there can be no justification for these sorts of benefits to be provided. They are being met by the taxpayers in the community. When one realises that, for example, 84 per cent of the shares of Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd are held by the United Kingdom parent company, Rio Tinto-Zinc Corporation Ltd, and that generally there is a substantially high proportion of overseas ownership of shares of mining operators in this country, one feels well justified, I repeat, in raising serious and challanging questions about the need to continue this sort of subsidy. As an example of the sort of ownership of many of these overseas mining companies, T seek leave to incorporate in Hansard tables which were prepared by Mr Gibbons of the research section of the Parliamentary Library which indicates overseas ownership in Australian mining ventures.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

 

 

 

 

 


Mr HAYDEN - On the point of the exhaustibility of these resources, 1 have some provisional figures which are contained in the following table:

 

In other words there is not such a great life ahead for the reserves of Australian mineral resources. The 2 questions I have raised are important ones. Firstly, is there a need for a financial incentive to these organisations? Of course there is not. There are tremendous financial rewards available for them already. They are extracting the subsidy from the community; they do not need this subsidy at the taxpayers' expense Secondly, because of the limited life or the exhaustible nature of our resources in this country, there must be a reassessment of our approach to the extraction of what are limited mineral resources in this country. I recommend that this benefit should be eliminated.







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