New Government must end uncertainty over major mining projects, IPA says

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Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), an independent, non-profit public policy think-tank dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of economic and political freedom, has called on the soon-to-be-formed Palaszczuk Government to make it its priority to restore business confidence or risk losing major mining projects, such as Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

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“Not only is Australia already an expensive place to do business, it has now also become a high risk place. State and federal governments continue to radically change policies each time government changes hands. This uncertainty means Australia will lose major projects overseas,” said James Paterson, Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The Courier Mail reported on Tuesday that the Australian Political Risk Index, compiled by Political Monitor, hit an 11-month high of 12.74 earlier this month. According to Mr Paterson, such political instability at the federal and state levels puts investments in limbo at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in taxes and royalties in Queensland in the process.

“The new government is justified in its view that taxpayers should not subsidise private businesses. However, it is more important that the government stops being a handbrake on companies that want to invest in projects which will boost the economy,” Mr Paterson said.

“Overturning the Newman government’s green-tape reforms would be a huge mistake. Restoring the restrictive wild-rivers protection laws and making it easier for activists to tie up projects with objections will be a major disincentive for investment in Queensland.”

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 Global Competiveness Report, Australia ranks 124th out of 144 economies in terms of the burden of government regulation, illustrating the rigid business conditions in the country.

“If companies like Adani decide to pull the pin on projects such as Carmichael, a very strong signal will be sent to other investors that doing business in Australia is now a risky proposition,” Mr Paterson concluded.