Mining tax should not only be seen as a tax on superprofits

Amongst all the screaming, crying, debating, justifying, talking down, playing down, pushing, shoving, whinging, whining, hubbub, cacophny, noise, complaints and controversy surrounding Australian PM Kevin Rudd’s latest proposed tax on mining profits, one fundamental point is being grossly ignored.

There is a lot of talk from the mining industry of the ‘damage’ that Rudd’s tax will do – words which i personally find quite ironic, coming from an industry that has been causing ‘damage’ to vast tracts of Australia’s land, leading onto almost irrepairable long-term damage to Australia’s waterways, drinking supplies, reefs, marine life – you get the picture – for years, with the hope and aspirations (dominated by greed) of doing so for years to come.

Jobs are important, and there’s no doubt that there are livelihoods that are being threatened and families that need feeding.  – This is where my first gripe with misguided complaints about ‘damage’ arises:  During 2008’s infamous ‘GFC’ mining company owners were the first to cull jobs – sacrificing the jobs of 15% of their entire workforce – clearly more concerned with maintaining profit margins, than putting bread on tables.

If one looks into the tax more clearly, there is actually incentive for exploration and early development (creating jobs) a forecast of an inscrease in GDP (meaning jobs across Australia’s entire economy) as well as the fact that the Australian public will be inheriting some of the risk involved in mining projects (via the government’s proposed rebates for small company exploration).

Clearly those screaming about jobs and ‘damage’ should be directing their fears towards their (selfish) bosses (as employees) and their resource mismanagement, long-term (as employers).

Worst of all, there has been no talk whatsoever – from the government, and certainly not the mining industry – of the environmental benefits of slowing down the enormous rates of depletion that these mines currently ensure.

As far as the mining industry is concerned (and its no surprise that Australia’s richest woman is campaigning against the tax, alongside various other Australian million and billionaires) get it all out of the ground and move it on to wherever the cashcow lies.  – Its magnates wont live on forever – they need their money now, right?

Never mind the fact that Australia is one of the most unproductive countries in the world, that we are clearing land faster than any developed country, and are only behind a small handful of others (Brazil, for example) from being at the top of this list; that the minerals in the ground aren’t a renewable resource, that once they’re gone, the massive hole in the economy (and the ground) will be inherited by generations to come.  Again, you get the picture.

The mining industry, its supporters and its employees need to get their heads out of the ground (pun intended) and wake up to the facts.  Aside from the actual benefits to be borne out of this tax, its time that those who partake in the rape and pillage of our land paid for it, or were at least encouraged to slow down their plunder.  Ultimately, slower consumption means a fairer share for all.

If only Labour governments could be seen to be adopting a ‘green’ angle of thought and policy, perhaps Australia’s PM would have much stronger justification on his side – our environmental future.

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