Closing Loopholes Bill would only cost mining industry 0.016% of profits, new ACTU research shows.

Media Release - November 20, 2023

Mining profits up 194% in last decade, while wages have gone backwards by 6%

Mining companies have made extreme claims about the economic impact of the Closing Loopholes Bill, but new research published by the ACTU shows that the Bill would cost the industry, at most, just 0.016% of their profits.

 The ACTU paper published today also reveals:

  • Mining companies could immediately give every single Australian worker – 14 million of them – a cost of living pay rise of 6% and still be the most profitable industry in the country.
  • Mining profits have increase 194% over the past decade but wages in the industry have gone backwards 6% in real terms.
  • Despite claims the Closing Loopholes Bill will harm investment, the mining industry only invested about 14% of its income back into the industry- the lowest level since at least 2001- They are banking four times more in profit than they are reinvesting back into the country.

BHP, leading the charge to defeat the Closing Loopholes Bill, claimed it would cost it $1.3 billion. This fanciful figure is 26 times higher than the estimated total cost facing the entire mining industry according to Government estimates.

BHP does not even believe its own estimate because if it did, it would have declared it to investors and shareholders as a “material risk”, as it is required by law to do so.

The ACTU paper also shines a spotlight on the impact of labour hire on the Australian economy and argues that the loophole pioneered by mining companies has now spread across the economy. Nearly all the top 100 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange use labour hire, and the largest 12 labour hire companies are now in the top 30 private employers in the country, with many paying little to no tax.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“The Minerals Council of Australia’s fear and loathing machine has been running at full capacity. Its time they are held to account for their willingness to engage in misinformation. The mining industry is so profitable it could give every single Australian worker a 6% pay increase and still be the most profitable industry in Australia. It is disgraceful they want to instead hold back all Australian workers from getting better workplace rights.  

Listening to their opinion pieces would have you believe the changes proposed by the Closing Loopholes Bill would be the death knell of the industry, but what we can see is a sector so wealthy its almost beyond comprehension.

“This labour hire loophole, exploited and pioneered by the large mining companies and the likes of Qantas will spread if it is not closed.  Labour hire workers, economy-wide, earn around $4700 a year less than other workers, it is being used as a scheme to drive down wages and its particularly insidious in a cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s time for Peter Dutton and the cross bench to decide: Do you want to support the extreme profits of these behemoth corporations, or do you want to help working people?”

The ACTU Network

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