Yet another mining boom. Whoopie!
Resources exports are on track to top $280 billion dollars this year.
But how much of that will end up in our pockets? I am predicting somewhere between not much and fuck all. Remember when Kevin Rudd had this brainwave, (Something he was prone to, apparently) and proposed a mining super profits tax, out of the blue. How long did that last? How long did Kevin last? About 6 weeks, I seem to recall. The mining industry gave him the sack, basically, and appointed Julia Gillard. Poor Julia didn’t know what to do. She was completely flummoxed, so the mining industry gave her a hand to design a whole new mining super tax, bringing to the table their vast knowledge and experience of tax evasion, sorry, tax avoidance.
Out of the goodness of her heart, Julia offered to forgo any taxes until the struggling miners had recouped all of their myriad expenses in getting their mines up and running. As we all know, mining can be an expensive endeavor, and many struggling miners find it difficult to make any profit at all. In fact they quite often go bankrupt just around the time the mine is exhausted, leaving the good old government to clean up the mess.
Now, I know this sounds crazy, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we, the people of Australia, owned our resources companies, then we would get all of the profit before it was syphoned off to Barbados.
Well, maybe that idea isn’t so crazy after all. As it turns out, other more perspicacious nations have already done just that: Norway, having found themselves sitting, serendipitously, on top of a vast ocean of crude oil, offered to go 50/50 with the oil companies in extracting and selling that oil. As a consequence of their foresight, Norway is now sitting on top of a vast ocean of money: 1.3 trillion dollars, the largest sovereign wealth fund the world has ever seen: 300,000 dollars for every man, woman and child in the country, so for a family of four, that’s 1,2 million dollars. It is all invested overseas and getting good returns. No one in Norway need ever work again as long as they live.
So this begs the question: Why don’t we do that too? Because we are dumb fucks, that’s why.
Ben Boyang 30/9/19