An increase in Western Australia’s gold royalty appears doomed after the Liberal opposition decided to block the move on Tuesday, citing the jobs the $400 million tax hike would have cost.
The McGowan Labor government was relying on the tax increase to help control the state’s budget, which has debt set to hit $43.8 billion by 2020.
According to WA’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy the state electorate of Dawesville would’ve been one of the worst hit by the tax outside of the Goldfields.
The Peel region, particularly Dawesville, is home to a large proportion of Newmont Mining’s Boddington gold operation work force.
Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup said the Liberal party room opposed the tax because it could have cost as many as 3000 jobs across the state.
“The proposal that Mark McGowan put forward to increase gold royalties would only put further pressure on jobs in our community,” he said.
“The reason that the Liberal party made a decision to block a royalty increase was solely based on jobs and it was important for me that we didn’t see this increase occur because it was important to protect jobs in our region.
“I will never ever support any decision that puts pressure on Mandurah jobs.”
In parliament, Premier Mark McGowan called on the Liberal party to support the gold royalty increase and accused the opposition of “wrecking” the state’s finances.
“The royalty increase proposed by this government will take $20 an ounce for the tax payers of Western Australia,” he said.
“Since the state election, the government has lost $5 billion in revenue from the GST system and also a decline in the projected royalties and a decline in federal grants to Western Australia.
“There has been a significant and major change in circumstances over the last few years.
“The financial vandals in the Liberal party should help the government fix the problem that you created.”
Earlier on Tuesday gold industry workers protested at Parliament House against the increase in the gold royalty.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said the decision by WA Liberals to block the royalty hike was “a win for common sense”.
“Our WA gold industry makes a very significant contribution to the WA economy – through direct employment, purchasing of goods and services, community contributions and payments to government,” he said.
“Our modelling clearly showed the direct and flow-on economic impacts of this proposal were too much to bear.
“The reality is there are gold mines which are too marginal to absorb the 50 per cent increase in costs and jobs would have been lost.”