Western Australia’s powerful mining lobby has spent more than $500,000 opposing the State Government’s gold royalty increase.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith yesterday revealed the financial extent of the industry group’s campaign since the planned royalty was revealed in last month’s State Budget.

Gold miners and the Nationals welcomed the decision by the Liberal Party to block the revenue-raising measure in Parliament’s Upper House.

Mr Howard-Smith said the vote at a Liberal partyroom meeting to support a disallowance motion was a “very important” move that would save jobs in a sector with marginal profits.

He also insisted the mining sector was pulling its weight as part of efforts to repair the Budget, noting it had accepted increases to “fees and charges” and was unlikely to oppose the government’s planned increase to payroll tax for big employers.

The campaign against the gold royalty increase comes after the successful campaign to block the Nationals’ proposed $7.2 billion iron ore tax earlier this year.
Mr Howard-Smith defended the actions of the CME, saying the lobby group’s support of efforts to change the GST distribution was proof of its fiscal responsibility, but it reserved the right to oppose “bad policy”.

“This decision certainly assists the resource sector to get on and do what it does best and that is growing royalties for the WA Government,” he said.


Image: The West Australian