Turnbull government seems out of touch, should follow Trump’s lead, says Gina Rinehart

by 22 November 2017

21 November 2017, The Australian

By Sarah-Jane Tasker

Mining and agricultural magnate Gina Rinehart has argued the Turnbull government seems out of touch with the industries fuelling Australia’s economy, adding it should follow the lead of US President Donald Trump to boost growth.

Mrs Rinehart said as an export-orientated nation, with a relatively small population, Australia’s prosperity and living standards depended on its ability to export competitively and sell its goods overseas.

She said fundamental to international competitiveness were low government regulation burdens, and low taxation and other government expense.

“We need to get governments to understand this and act. Just as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi do, two of the world’s leading economies and democracies,” Mrs Rinehart said in a speech tonight in Canberra at the National Agriculture and Related Industries Day gala dinner.

She told the crowd about a trip to Washington last year, where she met senior members of Trump’s campaign team, adding that the President won the election because he and his team listened to the people of America.

“Their countrymen told them they wanted, firstly less government tape, secondly less taxation, and for the US to grow and provide more sustainable jobs. This is the same message I am suggesting to you tonight, but regarding our country,” she told the audience at the dinner.

“Trump’s work in cutting government tape and company tax is making it better to do business in America, stimulating investment and creating thousands of jobs. I was there when Anthony Pratt announced in New York that he’d invest $US10 billion in the US over several years and the President of the US stood and applauded him.

“If only we were hearing similarly from our governments around Australia.”

Mrs Rinehart said that despite the fact that many members of government did not have a business background, governments had to understand that the country cannot tax its way to prosperity.

She also said the government needed to be more financially responsible.

“The government needs to spend less. Instead of being induced to spend more, by self interest groups who often don’t want to contribute themselves economically,” she said.

Mrs Rinehart also outlined in her speech that there seemed to be a loss of the basic understanding that there needed to be a good environment for investment and for enabling export industries to be cost competitive internationally.

“Instead, we take the path of too many expensive government burdens, and changing policies that are negative to industry and create uncertainties,” she said.

“For Australia to prosper it needs investment to be encouraged with good policies.”

Mrs Rinehart argued that Australia needed its agriculture industry and export industries to continue to thrive but she said the Turnbull government seemed to be out of touch.

“Despite many speeches regarding reducing government red tape, what has actually been done, outside of reducing government tape on charities and childcare, to cut government tape burdens on agriculture or other contributing primary industries?” she said.

“There are some people in our government wanting to cut, let us show them our support.”

Mrs Rinehart gave special mention to Barnaby Joyce in her speech, thanking him for taking a break from his campaign to attend the event. She said he was a “great voice” for Australian agriculture.

“The agriculture industry was very fortunate to have had such a dedicated, understanding and enthusiastic minister, one with years of first-hand experience, a real Aussie country boy, and boy do we hope you return,” she said.

The agriculture and mining magnate also highlighted to those in the room that inner city dwellers, sitting in a cafe, would argue about animal rights and the environment, while enjoying the products produced from the industries they raged against.

“They are arguing against the industries of mining, petroleum, much of agriculture, fishing, even eggs, and against further water allocation,” she said.

“I note in these conversations we don’t hear suggestions of what they’ll do to work harder and invest their monies to create more revenue to be able to keep funding what the agriculture and our related industries contribute towards our defence, police, elderly, hospitals, parks, public sporting facilities, roads and airports.”

She said those type of conversations were happening in every city in Australia and were why the industry needed to provide more education on the contribution agriculture and its related industries made to Australians.

“A group of city people are sitting on chairs clad in wood, which was grown and milled in Tasmania … they are wearing clothing made from wool grown on our stations and farms, and or, cotton grown in the Kimberley’s or north western NSW, grown using access to water licenses,” she said.

“The point here is that these products, which we consume, are in our everyday lives yet some in our communities campaign against what they and their children actually need.”

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