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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 865 asked in the Legislative Council on 28 November 2017 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 28 November 2017

GOLD ROYALTY RATE INCREASE — CONSULTATION
      865. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Treasurer:
      (1) Is the Treasurer aware that every gold prospector and every director of every goldmining company in Western Australia would welcome and accept an invitation to a consultation with the Treasurer or his representatives?
      (2) In respect of the revised gold tax increase announced by the Treasurer on Tuesday, 21 November 2017, will the Treasurer confirm that the government has engaged in consultation with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia?
      (3) Will the Treasurer disclose what other entities the government consulted on the same subject; and, if the Treasurer will not so disclose, is it open for honourable members to conclude that there has been no consultation with gold prospectors nor with directors of goldmining companies?
      (4) In recalling how his speech to gold industry toilers on 10 October received no applause, not even from his own staff, how does the Treasurer imagine that his new gold tax increase will be accepted by the gold industry and by the huge numbers of companies and individuals supplying the gold industry?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following information is provided on behalf of the Treasurer.
      (1) The Treasurer and his office consulted the gold companies' representatives. It would be impossible for the Treasurer to consult every stakeholder when government implements its policies. As the member will be aware, industry groups play an important role in that regard. The Minister for Mines and Petroleum consulted a number of specific companies.
      (2) The Treasurer and his office consulted the gold sector on the royalty rate change as follows.
      On Wednesday, 1 November, the Treasurer phoned the Chamber of Minerals and Energy's chief executive, Reg Howard-Smith, and advised him that the government would be reintroducing the gold royalty rate increase. The Treasurer advised that the government was interested in industry feedback as to how the government might deal with industry concerns in relation to the claimed impacts on marginal mines and small producers, and the claims about the consequential impact on employment.
      On Thursday, 2 November, the Treasurer's chief of staff emailed Reg Howard-Smith to seek a meeting with the Treasurer for industry to provide the feedback requested.
      On Tuesday, 7 November, the Treasurer and his chief of staff met Mr Howard-Smith and CME deputy chief executive, Nicole Roocke, on the proposed royalty rate increase and had a general discussion about the gold industry's position. Mr Howard-Smith committed to report back the following week.
      On Friday, 10 November, the Treasurer's chief of staff phoned the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies' acting CEO, Graham Short, to advise him that the government would be reintroducing the gold royalty rate increase and was interested in industry feedback as to how the government might deal with industry concerns in relation to the claimed impacts on marginal mines and small producers, and the claims about the consequential impact on employment. A meeting was arranged for the following week.
      On Tuesday, 14 November, Mr Howard-Smith emailed the Treasurer's chief of staff to say that the industry's response had been delayed until later in the week.
      On Tuesday, 14 November, the Treasurer's chief of staff met Mr Short; AMEC CEO, Warren Pearce; and AMEC president, Will Robinson. Mr Robinson advised that AMEC did not support an increase in the gold royalty rate and was not interested in consulting on the issue.
      On Thursday, 16 November, Mr Howard-Smith, copying Mr Pearce, emailed the Treasurer's chief of staff to advise that the gold industry's position in relation to the government's proposal to increase the gold royalty rate remained unchanged.
      (3) Refer to question (1).
      (4) The revised royalty rate change has addressed all of the gold industry's reasonable concerns. The one concern not addressed is the simple fact that the industry does not want to pay a higher royalty rate. It is important that politicians do not outsource their policy positions to industry groups and vested stakeholders, and I expect support for the measure from Western Australia's elected representatives.