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Labor's mining tax a job loss disaster.

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Labor's Mining Tax a Job Loss Disaster

Friday, 25 July 2003

The ALP’s tax on the mining industry would speed up job losses in this struggling but historic West Coast industry, Senator Guy Barnett said today.

“The cutting of the diesel fuel rebate by 10 % is a ridiculous proposal by a party out of touch with the precarious nature of the West Coast mining industry,” Senator Barnett said.

“I challenge Labor Senators and MHRs to go West and convey this news to the families at Queenstown, Rosebery, Zeehan, Tullah, Strahan and Burnie, and tell those families to drop everything in the West, move to the cities and enrol at a university,” Senator Barnett said.

“If Labor bothered to look they would see Pasminco and Beaconsfield Gold in administration, Western Metal which owns Hellyer in receivership, Mt Lyell Mine marginal, and Renison Bell in dire trouble - so Labor would deliver the coup de gras, and throw hundreds of workers out of a job,” he said.

Senator Barnett said the claim that the industry would benefit in the long term by money saved being redirected to university places, merely condemned hundreds of families on Tasmania’s West Coast to the unemployment scrap heap.

“This is a classic case of Labor pandering to the big cities at the expense of more than 2,000 jobs in the mining and processing industry, and turning its back on the backbone of Australia’s prosperity,” he said.

Senator Barnett said mining and processing in Tasmania had sales of $1.3 billion a year, and was worth more than $500 million a year to the State economy in terms of wages, freight, electricity and money spent on goods and services.

“The mining and processing companies have a payroll of more than $150 million and some of this would disappear into the trendy inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney,” he said.

“Exploration is an all time low and this would make the situation even worse, in one of the few areas of hope that this industry has left,” he said.