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Coalition to “reboot” mining boom

Editorial
article image Prime minister elect Tony Abbott. Image: News.com.au

The newly elected Abbott government isn’t wasting time, getting straight to work on a number of its election promises; with incoming minister Andrew Robb declaring it will “reboot” the mining boom.

Robb said the mining sector will receive a confidence boost from Saturday’s election results which saw the coalition take office with a clear majority.

“Massively” boosting jobs is also on Robb’s agenda, saying the coalition will work towards reducing national debt and aims to increase revenue by stimulating mining investment.

"As of today, the mining boom will be rebooted," he told the ABC on Sunday.

"Under Labor, it was finished because of the cost [and] uncompetitiveness that we've now got. We will change that."

Throughout the election prime minister elect Tony Abbott promised to abolish both the mining and carbon taxes within 100 days of gaining power.

"People expect the day after an election an incoming government will be getting down to business. That's what I'll be doing today," Abbott said on Sunday.

Robb said there is $150 billion worth of mining projects up for grabs.

"We can do so much," he said.

"We can get Australia open for business, we will restore an appetite for risk and investment [and] people's jobs will grow massively.”

But with a number of minor parties and independents claiming the balance in the senate there could be some roadblocks ahead for Abbott’s agenda.

The Senate is made up of 76 seats, 39 are needed for a majority, the coalition has managed to secure 32, Labor holds 25, and the Greens control nine.

Abbott will require senate approval to scrap the carbon and mining taxes.

Labor and the Greens will continue to control the senate until July 2014, with the new senate taking their seats on July 1.

Using his election night speech to declare Australia once again “open for business”, the Abbott government is enjoying support from the country’s resources sector.

The Australian reports the mining industry is backing the incoming government to improve Australia’s international competitiveness with stable taxation and regulation.

Chairman of the Business Council of Australia’s policy committee and Rio Tinto's managing director Australia, David Peever said business needs political certainty to fuel investment.

"The resources sector, in particular, operates over long-term horizons, involving substantial investment and infrastructure commitments spanning generations," he said.

"For Australia to maximise its potential and to achieve desired growth, we need leadership from our politicians focused on the long-term national interest, buttressed by proper governance, strong institutions and consultative decision-making processes."

BHP Billiton also said it will work with the prime minister and his cabinet on issues that will help restore the country’s productivity and competitiveness.

"It is encouraging that the need to lift productivity to maintain living standards featured so prominently in the campaign," a spokesperson said.

"While the bulk of the productivity challenge rests with industry, government has a critical role to play in the provision of predictable and stable policy frameworks."

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive, Mitch Hooke said scrapping the carbon tax and the MRRT would be a positive first step for the mining sector.

"The MRRT was founded on the falsehood that the mining industry was not paying a fair share of tax and that a further new tax was necessary for Australians to share in the benefits of the millennium mining boom.

"Both assertions were wrong in 2010 and they remain so today," he said.

The national resource industry employer group Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott said he looks forward to working with Abbott to improve the industry’s prosperity.

“The Abbott Government has a clear mandate to restore confidence back into Australia’s resource industry and back into our country generally as a globally competitive and productive place to do business,” Knott said.

AMMA is calling for policy framework that will support the entire mining lifecycle, assisting to develop stronger exploration, production and export phases.

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