Reg Howard-Smith, Chief Executive of the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy, has moved quickly to counter the doom and gloom merchants who say that the mining sector’s golden days are drawing to a close.
Speaking in the Daily Telegraph, Howard-Smith claims that the boom has “got a long way to go.”
A graduate of the University of Western Australia, with a major in Economics, he dismissed the report from leading economic research firm Deloitte Access Economics, which warns of a shrinkage in the number of new projects planned to go ahead amid rising industry costs and increasing global economic uncertainty.
“There are expansions currently under construction and significant new oil and gas projects and mineral projects which haven’t started producing, so the full economic benefits are yet to be felt,” he argued.
Howard-Smith has also been left frustrated by policies that he feels are holding back the growth potential of Western Australia and could damage the image of Australia generally as an attractive place for investment.
He wants State and Federal Governments to focus on policies to improve productivity by making it easier for people to move interstate for work, cutting red tape and tax reform. This is an area he has been championing since 2002 in his previous role with CME, before being made Chief Executive in 2007, where he had responsibility for Human Resources, Education and Training, Immigration and Skill Shortage,
“There are concerns that Australia is becoming a less attractive place to develop projects and investment may be driven to other regions because of additional layers of taxation through the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the Carbon Tax, coupled with rising costs for doing business and an inability to source skilled labour,” he said.