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'Shock and ore' campaign kills off inquiry



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For more information contact Jeremy Roberts on 0433 620 850 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677

21 / 5 / 2015

‘SHOCK AND ORE’ CAMPAIGN KILLS OFF INQUIRY Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, said his proposal for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the iron ore sector was killed off by a ‘shock and ore’ campaign by key elements of the mining industry. Last week Senator Xenophon tabled terms of reference in the Senate for an Economics Committee Inquiry into the iron ore sector, to look at the impact on the federal budget and competition issues. He deferred the Senate vote until June 16 on the basis of an understanding that the Government would set up its own joint-select committee Inquiry, with similar terms of reference. The move for the Inquiry followed the $18 billion hit to the budget due to the decline in the iron ore price, and allegations made by Andrew Forrest of FMG that BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were flooding the market with iron ore, with the effect of putting the squeeze on smaller competitors and reducing tax revenue. “The fact that the PM and the Treasurer were initially supportive of an Inquiry by both houses of Parliament and have now backed away, is indicative, yet again, of the enormous and disproportionate power of the mining lobby. The iron ore giants have now succeeded in censoring the Government and the Parliament from having an Inquiry into issues that are clearly in the national interest,” Nick said. “You’ve got to ask, given this extraordinary turn of events: where does the real power lie in this country?” Senator Xenophon also made the point that during the recent Senate Inquiry into aggressive tax minimisation by multinational corporations, it was revealed that BHP and Rio used off-shore ‘marketing hubs’ to slash their tax, a practice that has come under the scrutiny of the Australian Tax Office. Smaller miners such as FMG have not used such practices which “puts them at a competitive disadvantage - something a Parliamentary Inquiry could also look at”, Nick said. Senator Xenophon vowed to keep pushing for an Inquiry. “This issue won’t go away - it’s too big in the context of our national economy and jobs for it to be buried by some mining giants. You have to ask why were BHP and Rio so terrified of being asked questions by a Parliamentary Inquiry? What have they got to hide?”