WA gold workers say thank you for protecting their jobs

The 25,000 West Australians working in the gold sector, and the many thousands of others who rely on the gold industry for their jobs, say thank you to the parliamentary members of the WA Liberals, the Nationals, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and the Liberal Democrats for vowing to block WA Labor’s flawed plan to increase the gold royalty by 50 per cent.

Industry leaders, workers and small businesses which depend on the gold sector applauded today’s announcement by the WA Liberals they would join the cross-bench and Nationals members to oppose the legislation.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan announced the Liberals would support WA workers and small businesses after a rally on the steps of Parliament House, where up to 700 people gathered to voice their discontent at Labor’s plan to increase the costs imposed on this crucial industry.

Raleigh Finlayson, Managing Director of WA gold miner Saracen Minerals, said today’s rally was the second time gold industry workers had gathered in large numbers in an attempt to save their jobs.

“Everyone in the gold industry is extremely grateful to all the MPs who have vowed to block Labor’s tax increase,” Mr Finlayson said.

“We are also very appreciative of the support we have received from suppliers, contractors and so many people in the wider WA community who recognise the vital role the gold industry plays in creating jobs and economic growth.”

Mr Finlayson said the gold industry also thanked the Liberal, Nationals and cross-bench MPs for listening to the views of workers and small businesses who feared the impact which the tax would have on their livelihoods.

“To the Members of Parliament who have demonstrated their support for the men and women who work in our industry, we say thank you,” Mr Finlayson said.

Bill Beament, Executive Chairman of Northern Star Resources, said the Liberal, Nationals and cross-bench MPs had stood up for the interests of all West Australians by vowing to block Labor’s tax increase.

“When he was in Opposition, Mark McGowan was fiercely against any increase in the gold tax because he said it would cost WA workers their jobs,” Mr Beament said.

“Mr McGowan promised not to increase the gold tax if he was elected. He was right to make that promise and he is wrong now to break it.

“The Liberal, Nationals and cross-bench MPs who have vowed to block the WA Labor Government planned royalty increase will save many West Australians their jobs and help ensure the industry continues to invest heavily in exploration, which will in turn create further jobs and economic growth.”

Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith said the decision of the WA Liberals to join the WA Nationals and cross bench parties in blocking the royalty hike was a win for common sense.

“Our WA gold industry makes a very significant contribution to the WA economy – through direct employment, purchasing of goods and services, community contributions and payments to government” he said.

“Our modelling clearly showed the direct and flow-on economic impacts of this proposal were too much to bear. The reality is there are gold mines which are too marginal to absorb the 50 per cent increase in costs and jobs would have been lost.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the WA Liberals, Nationals and other members of Parliament to assist them with whatever information they require to block this legislation.”