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Dire implications for Tasmania hidden beneath the surface of Labor's mining tax rhetoric



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Senator Stephen Parry Chief Opposition Whip in the Senate Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate Liberal, Tasmania

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday May 13, 2010

Dire implications for Tasmania hidden beneath the surface of Labor’s mining tax rhetoric

LABOR’S mining tax- grab is not merely a hit on the profits of the West Australian resource juggernauts as the Rudd Government claims; it is an attack on the economy of Tasmania and poses a threat to thousands of jobs, Liberal Senator Stephen Parry, speaking on behalf of the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team, warned today.

“This tax poses dire implications for Tasmania’s mining sector, which includes not only the mines and their employees but importantly the many companies around the State that supply the industry nationally,” Senator Parry said.

“Companies such as Caterpillar in Burnie, the North-West ’ s largest non -government employer, together with a host of others, sell mining equipment and machinery Australia-wide.

“If large-scale interstate mining projects are shelved, as was foreshadowed by industry heavyweight Rio Tinto as recently as yesterday, then the effects will flow-on, the orders will dry up and we will lose jobs in Tasmania.”

Senator Parry said Labor’s new tax could hit the long-term viability of the local industry.

“This regressive measure may dry up exploration activity in Tasmania, which is vital as most of our mining operations are rather aged,” he said.

“If we are to continue to have a strong mining industry in this State, then clearly we need strong investment in exploration to bring online new mines. This tax directly threatens that investment.”

The cost of the new tax may also be passed on to consumers, Senator Parry said, which could impact on a range of other industries, including agriculture and building.

“The price of bricks, cement and steel could all go up, adding to the cost of building a home,” he said.

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“A bumper sticker I have spotted on the West C oast proclaims ‘What’s yours ’ is mined’, and there is a lot of truth to this statement.

“For example, limestone is mined at Railton as a key ingredient for making cement, while by-products from smelting at Risdon, in the State’s South, are used in fertilisers.”

One affect of the new tax was felt almost as soon as it was announced, with the share market showing its disapproval by wiping millions upon millions off the value of mining companies.

“It’ s a lie to say that Australians have not benefited from a strong resources sector when the superannuation funds of millions of retirees and workers are significant shareholders of those companies,” Senator Parry said.

“We know Tasmania has an ageing population , so we know that this will translate to less income for older people and less money flowing into our communities.

“Without an extensive regional impact study, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Labor’s new mining tax will have a serious impact on Tasmania, and particularly the North-West and West coasts.

“If Labor Members and Senators are serious about a ‘fair go’, as Sid Sidebottom claims is his motto, then they will join the Coalition in opposing this tax.”

Ends

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For further information contact Anthony Haneveer - 0400 992 928