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Labor’s slug on gold miners will cost jobs and investment in regional WA

For more information, contact Mia Davies (Leader | Member for Central Wheatbelt).

The Nationals WA will oppose any effort by the McGowan Government to inflict higher royalties on Western Australia’s gold industry.

The Nationals WA will oppose any effort by the McGowan Government to inflict higher royalties on Western Australia’s gold industry.

Leader Mia Davies said The Nationals had a strong history of backing the gold sector, an industry characterised by smaller players and thin profit margins.

“In 2014, The Nationals stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the gold industry to oppose an increase in royalties,” Ms Davies said. “Our party is a longstanding friend of the gold industry and we will fight any blatant cash grab the McGowan Government cooks up.

“Gold miners have been clear in their conversations with us that an increase in royalties will cut their level of exploration and severely impede future mines coming on stream.

“An increase in gold royalties would fly in the face of Labor’s election pledge to create jobs for Western Australians as mine expansion plans of current operators would be slashed.”

Ms Davies said it was hypocritical of the Premier to wantonly increase gold royalties yet refuse to negotiate a change to the 50-year-old 25c per tonne rental fee paid by iron ore giants BHP and Rio Tinto.

In 2014 Mr McGowan said: “Gold, by its nature, can often be very marginal. A lot of work, a lot of processing, a lot of employment – but at the end of the day, costs are high and if this royalty comes in, mines will close and jobs will be lost.”

“Just three years ago Mr McGowan said gold miners were too often treated as the ‘poor cousin’ of iron ore by the State Government,” Ms Davies said.

“Now, you have the Premier wanting to make the poor cousin poorer, while the iron ore miners announce record Pilbara profits and continue to be allowed to have their fees eternally frozen at 1960s rates.”

Deputy Leader and Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell said any increase in gold royalties would be a direct attack on the Goldfields.

“Kalgoorlie and Goldfields communities will feel the brunt of the McGowan Government’s ham fisted approach,” Ms Boydell said. “If the Government was serious about Budget repair they would not have made more than $5 billion worth of election commitments – the majority of which are tied up in Metronet.

“Make no mistake, any increase in State revenue from a gold royalty hike will be sunk straight into Metronet.”