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Since when does genuine cocern constitute whingeing?

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T im Fischer mp Federal Member for Farrer ^

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources


Federal Minister for Tourism and Resources, Alan Griffiths displayed a classic example of a Government Minister out of control and over the top when he alluded to Resource Industry Leaders being ’whingers'.

Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer, speaking at Maitland in the Hunter Valley said implicit in Minister Griffiths remarks is a belief that unless Resource Industries 'toe the Government line' they are 'whingers'.

"He criticises the resource industries for being overly negative in claiming that resource exploration had fallen to disastrously low levels when predictions are that mineral exports are likely to rise by 34 % in the next 5 years.

"This striking naivety highlights the planning paralysis of the Keating Government.

"Surely the Minister has heard of lead time, the essential ingredient in any major development, particularly when it involves firstly exploration, then feasibility studies, then environmental and heritage challenges, Government approval, infrastructure and transport development and eventually production.

"It is precisely because of the total lack of foresight during the nine years of Labor Government that the industry is now expressing concern. Today's production increases are due to the foresight and planning of the previous Coalition Government.

"However because of Labor Government inactivity, mineral exploration is running, in real dollar terms, at almost half its 1981 - 82 level.

"It is no wonder that there is lack of confidence amongst Resource Industry Leaders, particularly when one considers the following additional factors:­

* The Government's 'no go' decision on Coronation Hill, on Uranium mining, Wesley Vale etc.

* Every mine operator is hit with Payroll and Sales Taxes amounting to millions of dollars.

* Every mining operator is slugged 2.388 cents a litre in excise for all diesel used off road.

Mr Fischer said concern for the future of an industry which in 1990-91 provided $27 billion worth of exports does not lie with Minister Griffiths or indeed the Keating Government. It does however lie with the Industry's Leaders and with the Coalition which has already shown that with its 'Fightback' Package it is pro sensible resource exploration and development.

ENDS 6 February 1992

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