In the September budget, WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced a new tax on the gold sector as a solution to the dire state of WA’s finances, however on Tuesday, the WA One Nation Party are set to make a motion against it.
Earlier this week, Mr Wyatt publicly criticised gold miners for refusing to pay the new tax, which has been hiked up from 2.5 per cent to 3.75 per cent. This came after the Chamber of Minerals and Energy claimed the tax would cost the gold industry 3000 jobs.
“What I’m finding interesting at the moment is that the gold sector is willing to spend literally millions of dollars on PR consultants, lobbyists, you name it, to avoid paying Western Australians a fair share for the resource that they own,” Mr Wyatt said at a press conference Last week.
“All I’m asking the gold sector to do is pay another $20 an ounce out of a gold price around $1650 an ounce.”
In an exclusive interview, WA One Nation Leader Colin Tincknell told WAMN News that this levy is just a “quick fix tax grab” and won’t help Western Australians.
“[They] do not work, they just do damage and they cost Western Australians jobs. We can’t have that now,” he said.
While there are successful mines in Western Australia who can afford the 50 per cent tax hike, there are other less successful mines who would be forced to close.
This would not only lead to massive job cuts, but would negatively affect the regional towns relying on these mines.
“A good example is Newcrest at the Telfer mine. They’ve got successful mines in other places but at Telfer they employ 1500 people, they keep a whole community going with the Martu,” said Mr Tincknell.
“The mine last year made an $8 million profit. That means they made $21 an ounce.
“Well, the government wants to take 20 off them, that means they’ll be making $1 an ounce. No mine can stay open on making $1 an ounce.”
In light of the current GST issue WA is facing, where we’re receiving only 34 cents for every dollar, Mr Tincknell said this tax won’t help Western Australians, given 60 per cent would go over east.
“The ACT have no mines, hardly and very little production whatsoever, yet they live off the back of hard work from West Australians.
“That needs to change. We will not accept that the Eastern States lives off Western Australians’ hard work.”
Instead of imposing a new tax, which could have negative economic impacts in the future, including job cuts and the closing of regional towns, One Nation suggest focusing on creating more jobs for Western Australians and making businesses both big and small successful, so they can employ more people.
“We want to work with Government to help pay some of the high spending. But when we look at what they’ve done, we don’t believe that they are really serious about repaying this debt,” said Mr Tincknell.
“If they were, then they wouldn’t be doing the pork-barrelling in certain regions.
“They’re trying to stick to the promises they made during the election, but they over-promised.
“This State needs to look at every dollar they spend. We can’t afford to just spend money will-nilly. We need to look at every project on its merits and then work out what’s going to create more jobs for West Australians, what’s going to make businesses both big and small successful so they can reemploy more people.”