PRIME Minister-elect Tony Abbott has restated Australia is “open for business”, as the Coalition prepares to kick off a swathe of business-friendly reforms.
Likely finance minister Andrew Robb said the Abbott Government would also “reboot” the mining boom and boost jobs “massively” by kick-starting mining investment.
“Under Labor, it was finished because of the cost (and) uncompetitiveness that we’ve now got,” Mr Robb said. “We will change that.”
Mr Abbott promised to introduce legislation in Parliament to scrap the mining and carbon taxes within 100 days of being elected, which Australian Minerals Council chief executive Mitchell Hooke labelled “a positive first step”.
Mr Hooke also lauded the Coalition’s plan to streamline environmental approvals through a “one stop shop”.
“The industry is committed to working with government ministers to immediately develop the proposal further, consistent with the government’s and industry’s mutual objectives of reducing unnecessary regulation and costs without compromising high environmental standards,” he said.
“Equally, the industry is greatly encouraged by the new government’s commitment to immediately implement its election policies in key areas of union right of entry, greenfields project agreements and restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.”
Likely Energy and Resources minister Ian McFarlane also announced an Exploration Development Incentive to encourage investment and stimulate growth in the resources and energy sector, due to begin in July next year.
“This is fantastic news for the mineral exploration and mining industry throughout,” Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive Simon Bennison said.
“AMEC has been advocating for a proactive tax reform measure that will allow current eligible losses to be passed back to their Australian share owners inthe form of a tax credit through the well known franking system.
“The Coalition has listened to industry and recognised the importance of such a policy and the role this plays in maintaining international competitiveness and investment in the exploration and mining industry.
“It will also increase the rate of discovery and lead to the mines of tomorrow, providing future revenue streams for governments.
“The Coalition’s comprehensive policy that will scrap the carbon tax, scrap the mining tax and introduce an Exploration Development Incentive is a much needed change to increase investment in the Australian resources sector.”
Mr Abbott said he was confident the mining tax and carbon tax would be gone by mid-2014, despite the Coalitionrequiring the support of either Labor o the Greens in the Senate.
Both Labor and the Greens indicated they would not support moves to dump the carbon pricing scheme in favour of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan to address climate change.
The Coalition’s proposed changes to industrial relations could also be delayed, after the Greens rejected the ‘business-friendly’ workplace relations changes, including a strengthened building industry watchdog.
If the bills became deadlocked in the Senate, Mr Abbott said the option of a double dissolution election could be on the table.
The newly elected senators – who will take their seats next July – could include South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, two from the newly formed Palmer United Party and one from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.
Mr Xenophon had advocated the replacement of the carbon tax with a more efficient scheme, but didn’t support the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan.
“Both schemes are inefficient and wasteful and there is a much better way forward,” he said.
Clive Palmer had already said his party would conditionally support scrapping the carbon tax, as long as the government refunded “the money from the day it was introduced”.