PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian resources sector has welcomed the change in leadership, after Tony Abbott stepped into office, vowing to save the economy and revive the stalling mining sector.
Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stepped aside on Sunday after losing to Abbott in a general election in which the Coalition government managed to win at least 90 seats in the new House of Representatives, while Labor would retain more than 50.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) CEO Mitch Hooke said that the mining industry strongly supported the Coalition government’s agenda to boost the country’s productivity and competitiveness, saying that Abbott’s promise to abolish the carbon tax and the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) would be a positive first step in an industry where Australia’s competitors faced no such imposts.
“The carbon tax has been a dead weight on the economy that has failed to achieve its environmental objective, while adding massive new costs on the minerals sector,” said Hooke.
He added that the MRRT was founded on the “falsehood” that the mining industry was not paying its fair share of tax, and that a further new tax was necessary for Australians to share in the benefit of the mining boom.
“Both assertions were wrong in 2010, and they remain so today,” he said.
Hooke said that the industry also supported the Coalition’s plan to streamline environmental approvals through a so-called one-stop-shop.
“The industry is committed to working with government Ministers to immediately develop the proposal further, consistent with the government’s and industry’s mutual objectives of reducing unnecessary regulation and costs without compromising high environmental standards.”
The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) joined the MCA in welcoming Abbott to the Prime Minister seat, saying it was eager to work with the new government on implementing the key policy commitments made during the election campaign.
“A focus on reducing the cost of doing business and increasing exploration activity need to be a priority for the Coalition government in order to enable the continued growth of the resources sector in Western Australia,” said CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) CEO Michael Roche also threw his support behind the newly elected Abbott, praising the Coalition for keeping focus on policies to address what he called the “real threats” to the Great Barrier Reef – such as nutrient run-off and Crown or Thorn starfish – and not buying into the “deceitful campaign” by global activist groups.
“Now the campaign is over, the work begins to put policy rubber on the road, and the Abbott government can be assured of the support and encouragement of the QRC and its members,” Roche said.