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BHP warns Australian resources at risk as competition grows

Editorial
article image BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie said global demand for Australian resources will continue.

BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie said global demand for Australian resources will continue, but warned the nation will lose its competitive edge if workplace relations, tax regimes, and regulatory red tape are not fixed.

''The question is not if Asia's demand for commodities will be met but rather which countries will deliver the supply,” Mackenzie said.

"There are even greater opportunities ahead. Global demand for commodities is expected to grow by up to 75 per cent over the next 15 years.”

Mackenzie said Australia was in a good position to deliver resources to its Asian neighbours but warned other suppliers were quickly catching up.

''Australia is in pole position to do so … but Australia must compete hard against both existing and emerging suppliers,” he said.

Mackenzie said the fiercest competition came from China’s low coast coking coal, thermal energy coal from the U.S and LNG from the U.S, Canada and Africa, AAP reported.

While he also saw copper from Chile and Peru as direct competition.

Mackenzie called on the government to create policies which ensured investment in the sector would continue to flow.

"We must all get sharper at productivity,” he said.

"(Government's) role is to provide efficient regulatory systems, foreign, fiscal and trade policies that encourage stability, and open markets.

''For a country to secure investment, it must create the conditions for the resources industry to prosper … industry and policy makers must now recommit to Australia's future competitiveness to make sure Australia remains a supplier of choice.”

Mackenzie also called for a ‘modern industrial relations framework’ that would bring workers and employers ‘onto the same page’.

Despite having operations all over the world, Mackenzie said BHP was ''a company firmly rooted in Australia'', highlighting the miner is the nation’s highest taxpayer.

BHP paid $US9 billion in tax in the 2011/12 financial year, he said, with around 70 per cent of BHP's profit that year coming from Australia.

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