01/07/2014 - 11:42

Don’t write off small miners: Court

01/07/2014 - 11:42

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Former premier Richard Court has renewed his calls for the federal government to share half the revenue from offshore oil and gas projects with the states, while also expressing confidence about the future of the mining sector.

Don’t write off small miners: Court
Former premier Richard Court. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Former premier Richard Court has renewed his calls for the federal government to share half the revenue from offshore oil and gas projects with the states, while also expressing confidence about the future of the mining sector.

“Do not write off the small and mid-cap mining sector in these challenging times,” Mr Court said.

“It is resilient, alive and kicking and capitalising on its ability to transact quickly when those opportunities arise.”   

Speaking at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies conference being held today and tomorrow in Perth, Mr Court warned Western Australia’s financial contribution was so valuable, it could tip the balance in the occasionally reappearing debate of the state seceding.

“They talk a lot ... these days (of) Scotland’s about to have a secession vote,” Mr Court said.

“Now, the Scots will always follow the money and I reckon the money is still being part of the UK.

“But you wouldn’t want to have the same vote here today if the public understood just how much money this sector was pumping into those central coffers to fund those massive expenditure programs that you read about.

“Australian people, however, are not being told the full story of just how vital this resource sector is in underpinning our living standards, underpinning our national economy.”

Mr Court said WA contributed the most taxes to the central government, mostly due to the resources sector.

“Western Australia has a net contribution of $20 billion, the only other state (with a net contribution) is New South Wales with $2 billion and all the other states are negative,” he said.

“That money is coming largely from a successful mining and oil and gas sector.

“On a per-capita basis we are putting in 30 times what the people of New South Wales are putting in.”

Mr Court said he believed state and federal politicians could not afford to repeat previous mistakes when “massive growth revenue streams” from new LNG projects came on board.

“With these next projects Gorgon, Ichthys, Prelude and the like, none of those revenues go to the state. They all go straight to the central coffers,” he said.

“We need to lock in arrangements now where the states, all the states get to share half of that new (Petroleum Resources Rent Tax) revenue stream on a per-capita basis.

“That will give the states a new growth revenue source that will enable them to fund the health and education demands that we have in our community.”

Mr Court said governments needed to have the political will to save surpluses to bolster budgets during downturns.

“We are very exposed to the volatility of commodity prices and we need to, as I said, run the surpluses to handle the downturns,” he said.

“The public need to be educated that this is a good thing and we need to reward governments that are prepared to do that.”

The former premier said infrastructure needed to be built ahead of demand, greater funding was needed in mining communities to support health and education, encouraging workers to live there, and further support should be given to find wider applications for technology developed in the resources sector.

“It’s those technology developments associated with our sector that I believe are going to create some interesting investment opportunities in this state,” he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options