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A real gold tax message for Canberra



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SENATOR FRED CHANEY LEADEROFTHE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, TECHNOLOGY AND COMMERCE

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MEDIA RELEASE

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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A REAL GOLD TAX MESSAGE FOR CANBERRA

EMBARGOED: NOT FOR USE BEFORE 2 PM (WST) SATURDAY JAN. 14

"The February 4 State election is a great opportunity for West Australians to tell the Hawke-Keating government exactly what they think of Labor's gold tax," the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Fred Chaney, said today.

"A vote for Liberal candidates, particularly in areas where gold mining is such a direct contributor to jobs and local prosperity, will be the sharpest and most meaningful rebuke for Labor's attack on this vital industry," he said.

"People should use the ballot box to register their protest and treat with contempt the meaningless petition being organised by Labor politicians fearful of electoral retribution.

"That petition is a fraud. Those Labor politicians should be addressing their attention to their State colleague, Senator Walsh. He holds the vital Finance portfolio and characterises opponents of the Gold Tax as spivs and

bludgera."

Senator Chaney was speaking at the Harbour Lights gold project near Leonora when he presented two awards for outstanding workplace safety achievement at the mine.

"Labor's desire to introduce a gold tax has been obvious for more than three and a half years," he said.

"The 1985 taxation white paper called for a gold tax but it was put on hold because of the looming West Australian State election. The Gutman inquiry again recommended in favour of a tax but, with an eye to an early Federal election Mr

Keating and Senator Evans said the Labor government's position, in December 1986, was that "... the importance of encouraging active exploration and development, and of maximising production and the consequent export income generated by the gold mining industry, outweighed the arguments in favour of removing the Industry's long-standing tax exemption."

in May last year, Keating said: "The unique position of gold mining as the only industry in Australia which does not pay income tax cannot be justified".

"With the 1987 Federal election out of the way, Keating and Finance Minister Walsh finally got their way.

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"Meanwhile, Australia's balance of payments crisis continues with a 30 per cent worse result for the first five months of this financial year - a deficit already of more than S7 billion - than in 1987-88.

"Gold mining makes a massive contribution to reducing the balance of payments deficit. The value of gold exports has more than doubled in two years and for the four months to the end of October last year these exports were worth more than

S900 million, our third biggest export earner.

"The trend in the trade account balance is in fact worse now than it was in December 1986 when the government cited export earnings as a reason for not removing the tax concession.

"Western Australia accounts for more than 70 per cent of Australia's gold production.

"Western Australians should use their votes on February 4 to remind the Labor Party of its folly in penalising one of the few bright spots in Australia's export performance."

Leonora 14 January 1989 Contact* Keith Kessell (09) 325 8179 (W) <09> 385 9430