Julia Gillard has thrown down the gauntlet to mining bosses, telling them face-to-face that they don't own the nation's resources and Australians deserve their share.
Ms Gillard delivered a feisty speech to the Minerals Council last night, one month out from the introduction of the carbon tax, telling them she is determined to stick to Labor's plan to share the benefits of the boom.
Her frank challenge to the industry came after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told mining bosses that she had caved in to union pressure to water down a deal to allow foreign labourers to build new mines.
Ms Gillard told her audience that she knew they would not like what she was telling them.
"I know that not all of you in this room are in love with the language of 'spreading the benefits of the boom'," she said.
"Australia needs tough leadership and I think you know by now I'm prepared to fight."
But she said that with more than $500 billion of investment in the pipeline, there was no better place in the world to invest in than Australia.
She told some of the industry's major players that Australians did not begrudge them their success.
"But I know this too: they work pretty hard in car factories and panel beaters and in police stations and hospitals.
"And here's the rub: you don't own the minerals; they own it and they deserve their share," she added.
"Governments only sell you the right to mine the resource - a resource we hold in trust for a sovereign people."
But the mining industry warned the Prime Minister her plan to spread the benefits of the boom may not be sustainable.
Minerals Council president Peter Johnston called it the wrong approach, criticising the "endless dialogue about redistribution".
"All governments need to shift gears from spreading the benefits of the boom through higher taxes, ad hoc spending and increased regulation to tackling the real challenges of fiscal sustainability productivity growth," he said.
The Prime Minister made just the briefest mention of her controversial plan to allow mining companies to import foreign workers to help build new mines.
"For projects where there's a real need for some temporary overseas workers, we will support that, we will join with you in making sure our first priority is to secure jobs and training for Australian workers," she said.
"There is nowhere in the world where mining has a stronger future, and this is Australia and it has a Labor Government."
Ms Gillard's frank challenge to the industry came after Mr Abbott also addressed the Minerals Council.
He seized on Labor's decision to form a new Caucus subcommittee to oversee future foreign worker deals.
"The unions spooked the Prime Minister and now the Caucus has rolled the Cabinet on these matters," he said.
"You can be absolutely confident that as time goes by, these enterprise migration agreements will be more difficult to negotiate."
In the "oops" category....some right wing ideologue will likely claim the NDP sabotaged it for Mulcair's visit
Pipeline spill sends 22,000 barrels of oil mix into Alberta muskeg
A huge pipeline spill has released 22,000 barrels of oil and water into muskeg in the far northwest of Alberta.
The spill ranks among the largest in North America in recent years, a period that has seen a series of high-profile accidents that have undermined the energy industry’s safety record. The Enbridge Inc. pipeline rupture that leaked oil near Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, for example, spilled an estimated 19,500 barrels.
Once again, I thank Alberta for its development of the Oil Sands. I expect that an operation this vast will see some mistakes made from time to time--however, an entire nation owes a large portion of its continuing economic success to this endeavour.
While some people slaver at the idea of profiting by suing productive businesses, others--such as those in the energy sector--are actually doing something to make a difference.
"My life is my own."
Mac Pro 3.0 GHz, Intel Mac Mini 1.83 GHz, 2.16 GHz White MacBook, G4 14" 1.33 GHz iBook, G4 12" 768 MHz laptop,
I expect that an operation this vast will see some mistakes made from time to time--however, an entire nation owes a large portion of its continuing economic success to this endeavour.
Unfortunately, if we enforced better environmental stewardship and more equitable profit sharing, I'm sure the oil would just jump out of the ground and move to a more "business friendly" jurisdiction, so there's no way Canada can do anything other than let foreign multinationals pillage our natural resources.
Last edited by bryanc; May 31st, 2012 at 10:33 AM.