The Minerals Council of Australia, whose members include mining heavyweights Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and others, have called on the Australian government to defy protectionism and champion free trade.

In a statement released Monday, the miners said the government needs to issue broad based reforms, including tax cuts, cracking down on activists and industrial relation reforms.

“The resurgence of protectionist sentiment means that the national benefits of low taxation, fiscal rectitude, and competitive markets are more contested than in previous decades,” the statement said.

“A liberal foreign investment regime, with consistent application of rules and thresholds, is vital to investor confidence and the future growth of the minerals industry.”

The council urged the government to close the deal on the pending free trade pacts with India and Indonesia, in order to open up the vast potential of those markets for the mining industry.

The statement also stressed that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership should be expedited, as China has promised to boost free trade opportunities.

The miners also took aim at the common misconception their industry was in a downswing, and that Australia is moving towards different sectors in the economy.

“This implies that the sector’s importance to the national economy has declined,” the statement said.

“This is wrong. There has been a transition from an investment phase to a production phase.”

Brendan Pearson, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, doubled down on that sentiment in the report, saying the mining sector remains crucial to the Australian economy.

“Over the last decade the mining sector contributed 14 percent of Australia’s economic growth. Over coming decades the mining sector will remain a central driver of growth, and the benefits of that growth will be enjoyed by all Australians,” Pearson said.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison will release Australia’s budget in May 2017. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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