JULIA Gillard has dismissed claims by Gina Rinehart that Australia’s economy is heading for a collapse like those seen in European nations.
In a recorded video speech delivered at the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Melbourne today, Ms Rinehart warned that Australia had to take action to avoid following Europe into economic misery. “It is as if Spain, Greece, Britain, Italy and Portugal had no warnings to give us about the similar path we are now taking,” Australa’s richest person said.
“It is as if their struggles with unemployment, riots, increased crime, debt and a sheer lack of money for even essential services, had nothing to teach us.” But the Prime Minister dismissed the claims as “absolute nonsense”.
“(It’s) not backed in by economists and not backed in by ratings agencies with their triple-A rating of the Australian economy,” she told reporters in Hobart.
The eurozone economy has contracted for six consecutive quarters, while Australia has avoided recession for 21 years.
Ms Gillard also rejected Ms Rinehart’s assertion that the government was using the mining industry as an automated teller machine to fund its promises.
Labor introduced a minerals resource rent tax in July 2012 targeting the super profits of iron ore and coal miners.
The tax has raised only a fraction of the original forecast revenue.
“What we are doing is taxing super profits in the mining industry because it’s Australians that own the mineral wealth in our ground and no one individual,” Ms Gillard said.
In her video speech, Ms Rinehart said:”What few seem to properly understand – even people in government – is that miners and other resources industries aren’t just ATMs for everyone else to draw from without that money first having to be earned and, before that, giant investments are made.
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