Questioning the age of mining entitlement

From time to time the AustraliaInstitute insists on injecting facts and figures into political discussions. It has now produced a report on just how many billions a year the States spend supporting their mining industries.  The figures are significant.  For example, for  2013-14 state budget minerals and fossil fuel expenditures and concessions totalled about about $3.2 billion.  For Qld this cost represented about 60% of the royalties it received.  The figures look much worse when it is realized that no GST is paid on mineral exports (or other exports.)  This loss of GST income to the states would have been worth about $19 billion for 2012!

(“Australian Mining” figures put the value of Australia’s 15 largest export commodities at $192.4 billion in 2013.

It is also worth noting that the above does not include federal government subsidies and concessions nor local government costs.  Local governments supporting FIFO are particularly poorly treated because the mines and their FIFO employees contribute little to local government income.


The mining industry reached the point some time ago where its very success is having a detrimental effect on the overall Australian economy. This is because the high value of mineral exports has pushed the $AUS well above its normal range.  As a result, other export industries and industries that have to compete with imports are finding it hard to survive and often shutting down.  In effect, industries that used to provide jobs and training are being replaced by an industry that employs only 2% of the workforce. Worse still, the end of the mining construction boom and falling commodity prices is seeing a significant shedding of the jobs created during the mining boom.  (Tying a countries future to an industry as cyclic as mining is not a really smart thing to do.)

With this in mind it is worth looking at what contribution mining really is making to the country and to what extent that this is being actually subsidised by governments and ordinary tax payers.

Richard Dennis Director of the AustraliaInstitute provided the following in an REnewEconomy article:


State Subsidies Final

 So read the report and start asking your MP’s the odd question about the age of mining entitlement.  And think about what Australia really has to gain from continuing expansion of our mining industry.

3 thoughts on “Questioning the age of mining entitlement”

  1. I liked these quotes given just how much money is channeled to the mining industry:

    We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that. Campbell Newman.

    [Mining royalties] help to put teachers in classrooms, police officers on in our
    communities and nurses in our hospital wards; by doing their jobs, New South Wales miners are helping some of the most important people in our community to do theirs. NSW Minerals Council.

  2. The minerals council (nsw) rebuttal here.

    And who is the Australia Institute ?

    Richard Denniss – Executive Director
    Prior to taking up his current position Richard was the Strategy Adviser to the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown.
    Faith Brown – Executive Assistant to Richard Denniss
    She has been an Executive Assistant for the past eight years and is passionate about social justice.
    Ben Oquist – Director of Strategy
    Ben is a former Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and Senator Christine Milne.
    David Richardson – Senior Research Fellow
    During the Hawke/Keating Governments David worked for Ministers Brian Howe and Senator Nick Bolkus.
    Matt Grudnoff – Senior Economist
    He has also worked for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. His research interests are in climate change policy
    Roderick Campbell – Research Fellow
    He has worked across a range of resource and environmental economics projects including project assessment, tourism economics and environmental valuation.
    Mark Ogge – Public Engagement Officer
    Mark is a fine artist and former Operations Director at Beyond Zero Emissions where he helped initiate and direct the award-winning Zero Carbon Australia 2020 project. At The Australia Institute his role involves engaging industries and communities affected by the expansion of coal and gas mining.

    Molly Johnson – Research Assistant
    Molly studied at the Australian National University graduating with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (Sustainability) (Honours) with majors in Human Ecology and Global Change Science.
    Tom Swann – Research Assistant
    Tom is a student in the Master of Climate Change Program at the Australian National University. He works on fossil fuel divestment, energy and climate policy, and how civic institutions best provide and protect public goods.

    So not exactly non biased commentary.

    ( I make no argument, only adding information to the calm debate. )

  3. Jumpy: Richard Denniss first came to my notice some years ago when I read something he wrote opposing the carbon price and pointing out all the circumstances where carbon prices wouldn’t work. Hardly what you would expect from the Green’s tame economist. What I have seen since has also been good stuff that deals in facts and figures instead of parroting the orthodoxy of the day.
    REad what he writes, not where he has been.

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