Article – Business red tape needs to be reduced, says Rinehart

20 February 2015
Sarah-Jane Tasker
The Australian

AUSTRALIAN mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has called on Australia’s business community to step up and engage with politicians to explain why onerous regulation — which she says is hurting investment — needs to be reduced.

Mrs Rinehart said it was “wishful thinking” to assume it was understood that high-cost Australia, with its declining productivity, must be cost competitive overseas or face losing markets and much- needed tax revenue.
“This will remain wishful thinking unless business people let politicians know the realities, and that the mining and related industries can’t afford greater government burdens,” she said.
“We need to help our politicians explain why government burdens need to be reduced, which are hurting and delaying businesses and investment in this country.” Mrs Rinehart said that while many people talked about productivity, too few considered the time wasted by very costly and ­­time-consuming government red tape.
The chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting outlined similar concerns about Australia’s competitiveness in an exclusive interview for The Deal magazine, which today features Australia’s 50 most powerful women in business, with Mrs Rinehart ranked No 1.
The experienced businesswoman warned that Australians needed to be aware that Asia — its key trading partner — looked everywhere for business opportunities and not just at who was close by.
“We need to understand we are competing with the world for partners for investments and markets,” she told The Deal.
“Australia has an unfortunate reputation for often being an expensive and frustrating place to do business given its onerous government regulation so, we have to overcome that by doing things better.”
The iron ore market has suffered a significant slump in price over the past eight months, putting a spotlight on Mrs Rinehart’s $US10 billion ($12.8bn) Roy Hill project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The miner is still targeting first production by year end, despite some recent safety incidents at the site with its contractors.
Mrs Rinehart said the operation would produce in the lower quartile of the cost curve and would be supported by strong partners who were also customers invested in the project.
Roy Hill today employs more than 7000 people directly on construction and mining, which the company says extends to more than 20,000 people employed directly and indirectly as a result of the project.
“While many are looking elsewhere in the world to invest, given Australia’s high costs and regulation burdens, I am investing here and trying to contribute to Australia,” she said.
Gina Rinehart at the Roy Hill project in Western Australia
Courtesy of the Australian