Clean Energy Bill lets-down small business: AMEC

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: The passage of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Bill through the House of Representatives continues to polarise the business community with one mining sector body expressing its disappointment.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies pointed to The Labor Party’s rejection of Independent Tony Crook’s amendment to the Clean Energy Future Reform plan.

AMEC said Crook’s amendment would have provided an exemption to regional mining and exploration businesses from changes to the diesel fuel rebate.
“Here was a golden opportunity presented by Mr Tony Crook, member for O’Connor, in Parliament yesterday to provide tax relief to many of the struggling smaller businesses in remote and regional Australia,” AMEC chief executive officer Simon Bennison said in the body’s press release.

“The amendment proposed by Mr Crook would have returned the diesel fuel rebate that has been partially removed under the Carbon Tax Legislation.

“This rebate has formed an important component of small business operations.”

Bennison said the amendment was an especially important one for smaller operators that generate their own power due to their geographic isolation.

This includes a good number of smaller mining and exploration companies, which Bennison said would now be seriously financially disadvantaged by the new legislation.

Bennison also expressed his fears regarding employment in the mining sector saying it will also be threatened by the Julia Gillard-led Government’s approach to tax reform through the Carbon Tax legislation.

“The simple fact is that jobs will be lost as a direct result of a carbon price. It will definitely stop future jobs from being created,” Bennison said.

“The Government continues to increase Australia’s sovereign risk in the mining and exploration sectors.

“The design of the tax will seriously impact on the international competitiveness of mining and exploration companies and no doubt we will continue to see capital flow into Africa and South America instead of the exploration sector in Australia.”