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Mining sector community spending exceeds $34 billion

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A survey has found mining companies’ community spending has exceeded its tax bills for the 2011-12 financial year.

Surveying 25 Australian mining companies, explorers and resources contractors the research has found the mining sector spent $34.7 billion on community infrastructure, indigenous contractors and local suppliers in 2011-12.

Minerals Council chief executive Mitch Hooke said the figure is many times larger than the projected returns from the mining tax and also exceeds the industry’s 2011-12 company tax and royalty payments, which Deloitte Access Economics estimated to be $21 billion for the same year.

He said the research “further underscores why the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is unnecessary and should be repealed”.

 Community infrastructure spending includes health care centres, education and training, sporting clubs, swimming pools and transport services.

The survey, conducted by corporate responsibility consultants Banarra found that $91.9 million was spent on community infrastructure and services, $37.1 million was spent on education and training, and $2.2 billion was spent on indigenous contracting.

Of those companies surveyed $32.1 billion was also spent on local suppliers and contractors.

 “The scale of industry’s community contribution demonstrates that the best way of to maximise a social return from Australia's resource endowment is to ensure the mining sector remains globally competitive and continues to expand,” Hooke said.

 He claims the mining tax takes Australia in the opposite direction.

“It undermines our competitiveness and acts as a disincentive to invest in Australian coal and iron ore projects,” Hooke said.

 He argues the size of the community contribution proves Australian’s are benefitting from the mining boom and will continue to do so if the mining tax is repealed.

“The industry's tax and royalty payments coupled with the community spend shows that mining will continue to make a very large social and economic contribution after the MRRT is abolished,” Hooke said.

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