Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has joined the resources giants in calling for the scrapping of the mining tax.
Australia’s richest person said the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) needs to go, not to boost her bank balance, but to allow Australia to compete internationally.
“People are not going to buy products because they like Australians, forget it,” Ms Rinehart said.
“They are only going to buy the products if we remain commercially competitive, cost competitive.
“It’s not about making Gina richer or anything stupid and short sighted like that, it’s about making our country sustainable in the world markets.
“We can’t afford the MRRT and also try to keep our costs down and to be cost competitive.”
Her comments echo recent calls from the chief executives of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, who have urged Labor and the minor parties to allow the repeal of the MRRT to pass through parliament.
The tax remains in place despite the Senate voting for its abolition, after Labor, the Greens and crossbench senators, including those from the Palmer United Party (PUP), sought to have programs funded by its revenue remain in place.
BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie says the MRRT is a massive disincentive for investment in Australia, while Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh and Woodside chairman Michael Chaney have criticised politicians for holding back the government’s planned repeal.
Ms Rinehart was speaking as her $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project reached the halfway point of construction.
First shipments from the Pilbara mine are planned for 2015, and it will produce 55 million tonnes of iron ore per year once completed.
“It’s a project Australia can be proud of,” Ms Rinehart said.
“It’s going to be one of the biggest iron ore mines in Australia, it’s also one of the largest in the world.
“If I die tomorrow, the project’s here.”