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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5530

Mr HOCKEY (2:18 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the following statements made by economic analysts about his proposed big new tax on mining. Chris Richardson from Access Economics said:

… the cost impact of the new tax will send some greenfield developments towards Canada, Indonesia, Brazil and others.

Citigroup said:

The ill conceived RSPT is likely to have a savage impact on iron ore wiping … one third of the incremental value of new Pilbara projects in Australia.

JP Morgan, one of the biggest banks in the world, said:

The proposal has created immense uncertainty and risk and significantly affects fundamental value.

Prime Minister, when will you listen to the real concerns of real economic analysts and investors and dump this really bad tax?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I thank the member for North Sydney for his question. The real concerns which this government listens to are those which are driven by the national interest, not by the partial interest of certain individual elements of the mining industry. The real concerns that we are listening to are those working Australians who retire without enough superannuation. The real concerns we are listening to are struggling small businesses who at present do not have sufficient tax breaks. The real concerns we are listening to are the good folk of Gladstone, the good folk of Mackay and others in regional Australia who are crying out for better investment in their roads, in their rail and in their ports. These are the real concerns we are listening to.

I notice that the member for North Sydney in his question made reference to an analyst saying that we should be concerned about the relative impact of tax reform against the mining industry here as opposed to that in Canada. Obviously the member for North Sydney is not fleet of foot in actually listening to what I said before in response to an earlier question. If you were to compare BHP stocks over the last month that we have been involved in this protracted debate on the future of tax reform for the industry, you would find that BHP has performed better than critical Canadian mining stocks. Furthermore, the Australian Stock Exchange more broadly, I am advised, has performed better than most other bourses around the world. When it comes to the individual mining index of the ASX, generally it has performed better than most other bourses around the world. Therefore, on this quite discomforting question of fact as opposed to fear, why doesn’t the member for North Sydney, instead of just reading the clips of a morning, undertake a little bit of research?

The member for North Sydney goes back to the good old question of iron ore and the good old investments of the member for Dickson, whom he sits next to. He should inquire from the member for Dickson what has happened with companies like BHP, whose principal resource lies in iron ore in the west and coal in Queensland. Mr Speaker, if you look at the performance of BHP stocks in recent times against Canadian and other international equivalents, it has been going pretty well. In fact, they have been going better than most of the other stocks on the ASX. I say to the member for North Sydney: have a yarn to the member for Dickson about how his investment is going. It is up from 3853 to 3920. He bought it two days after the government announced its tax reform changes. It is going okay so far. Joe, ask Pete for a bit of advice on how you should invest in the future.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister will refer to members by their parliamentary titles.

Mr RUDD —We will track that through the pecuniary interests and see how it goes. I would strongly suggest to go Rio as well because they are doing even better.