PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has warned that jobs and investments in the resources sector were under threat from the Northern Territory government’s proposed Environment Protection Bill and Regulations.
The draft legislation addresses the environmental impact assessment and approval framework; a separate legislative process will address the reforms to waste, pollution, land clearing and the environmental impacts of mining.
However, the MCA said this week that the new mining taxes proposed by the Environment Protection Bill and Regulations would threaten high-paying jobs, living standards and investment in the Northern Territory.
In its submission to the government, the MCA outlined a series of so-called cost recovery measures and non-refundable financial assurance levies which it said would unfairly tax miners and undermine the future of communities across the Territory.
“The mining tax grab will also include additional taxes to fund routine paperwork and advice traditionally paid for by government departments,” MCA executive director for the Northern Territory, Drew Wagner said.
“These taxes will be imposed on top of existing taxes paid, including A$350-million in annual royalties, and despite the Northern Territory’s world-class mining companies complying with all environmental and mine rehabilitation regulations.
“Along with all Territorians, the mining industry is already paying taxes to fund the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority, its bureaucrats and advisers to deliver basic environmental management and administration.”
Wagner said that the new taxes would drive up the cost of doing business in the territory and put at risk the government’s plan to kick-start economic and population growth.
“Legislative and policy uncertainty in the Northern Territory has already seen the investment attractiveness of the territory slip from seventh in the world in 2015 to twenty-seventh in 2017.
“And future jobs will evaporate if business is thwarted from making major investment decisions because of these new taxes and the burdensome approval process contained in the Bill.”
Wagner noted that while the MCA supported best-practice environmental standards and safeguards, the Bill in its current form would result in more red and green tape, making it more difficult for major projects to proceed and endangering high-paying mining jobs in communities throughout the territory.