Treasurer Ben Wyatt today told Parliament he was unaware thousands of jobs in the gold sector would be lost if the gold royalty rate was hiked up by the Labor Government.
Leader Mia Davies said the gold sector’s own figures indicate at least 3,300 direct jobs would be lost if the gold royalty rate was increased by 50 per cent, as proposed by Labor.
“Mr Wyatt told Parliament on Wednesday the new mining tax was a ‘fair decision’,” Ms Davies said. “Figures reveal at least 3,300 jobs across four of the most marginal gold mines in Western Australia will be lost if the McGowan Government’s mining tax is introduced.
“A large percentage of these will be jobs in regional WA, but it was clear today the Treasurer did not care as long as Labor had money to pay for its $5 billion worth of election commitments.”
Ms Davies said Labor ministers had fallen over themselves to act as “friend and protector” of the resources sector since the election, but the decision to increase gold royalties proved the relationship only extended to the two big iron ore miners BHP and Rio Tinto.
“The Treasurer did not meet with the gold sector until after the Budget and would not say whether the Government undertook modelling of job losses before announcing the royalty hike,” she said.
“Labor could not get past the short term sugar hit that will allow them to pay for the first stages of Metronet and a litany of Perth election commitments.”
Ms Davies said The Nationals’ stance on increasing gold royalties should come as no surprise to the Labor Party or WA public.
“Our party has staunchly campaigned against such measures in the past – including when we were in Government,” Ms Davies said.
“Before the election we warned that the gold sector, Royalties for Regions and everyday West Australians would be in the crosshairs of a future Government if an alternate revenue source or GST fix was not delivered.
“Unfortunately, we now have a metro centric Labor Government that could not care less about regional jobs or communities.”
Ms Davies said the Premier had a $7 billion revenue source at his disposal but refused to negotiate with BHP and Rio Tinto to increase the 50-year-old 25c special lease rental.
“The Government prefers to instead hit the softer target of the gold industry, raid Royalties for Regions, increase household fees and slug business with increases in payroll tax,” Ms Davies said.