Address by Mrs Gina Rinehart
Executive Chairman, Hancock Prospecting and S. Kidman & Co
Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA’s “Australian Agribusiness – Global Opportunities, Local Expertise” Forum
Thursday, 21 November 2019, Perth
Distinguished guests, friends.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all here to the Pastoralists and Graziers Forum.
The agricultural and mining industries are the backbone of our country, it is the reason our small population is able to punch above its weight. Without these industries we would simply not have a place at the G20 meetings.
Yes Australia, let’s not forget this.
Thank you to our agricultural industry, and all who work in it.
Four years of record drought and scarcely any help, in fact just the very opposite, years of income tax, company tax, licence fees, stamp duty and payroll tax. Plus the expense of time consuming government red tape.
We are a proud industry and handouts are not natural for us, even in tough times. But this is a very serious record drought.
Even if the drought breaks soon, which we all hope daily for, reducing the burden of each of these excessive taxes and even a tax rebate for a considerable chunk of the taxes we’ve paid these last four years, particularly for small and medium producers, would help our industry rebuild after the drought, it would help us invest in improving our stocks welfare, safety and practical technology, as well as ever necessary maintenance.
The WA Premier has announced that his government will cut payroll tax for small to medium businesses and stamp duty state wide.
As he said, this is to help kick start small to medium businesses, who provide a large segment of overall employment. It’s not easy as Premier to drive tax cuts, but let’s encourage him to be on a positive effective roll here, and cut license fees too.
Agriculture needs help to kick start after four years of massive drought. Licence fees, payroll tax and stamp duties simply don’t help one of West Australia’s most important industries, or those who work in it. Or the many related industries who rely on our agricultural industry.
We as a nation need to export our primary produce, for instance, we simply can’t eat all the beef we produce! Ditto use all our wool, but to be able to export we must remain internationally cost competitive.
We simply can’t afford to carry onerous government fat, the onerous burdens of red-tape and taxes.
Cutting government tape and taxes, works, just look at the USA and India where they have done this on a federal level.
And Let’s never forget the Indian Prime Ministers famous mantra “From Red Tape to Red Carpet” which despite the renowned bureaucracy in India, he’s speedily driven cuts on a federal level, which some states have emulated, bringing huge government tape cuts, and the consequent real benefits for his citizens.
Prime Minister Modi has dedicated his life to bringing his country’s people out of poverty, and raising their standards of living, and with immense dedication, that’s exactly what he’s doing. And despite most of the bureaucracy not liking. My goodness, if Prime Minister Modi can do it in India, should be a comparative cinch to cut tape in Aussie!
In the USA, under President Trump’s strong economic leadership, where he kept his election promise to cut tape and taxes, investment is up, so is business and consumer confidence.
Unemployment is down, in fact they have the lowest unemployment in more than 50 years! And even for disadvantaged people their unemployment is the lowest in 20 years. Wages are up.
The proof is there. Cutting tax and tape truly works. So let’s hurry up, bring these tax and government tape cutting reforms to Australia.
I propose, should the other agricultural organisations want, that we build on the Pastoralists and Graziers excellent initiative to hold a forum on National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, and suggest after a forum, in the afternoon of each National Agriculture Day.
We then hold a by invitation, mini G20 for agriculture, an invitation only event for owners, Chairman, CEOs, and any industry related experts we may choose to invite, across our whole industry, to discuss the most important matters relating to Australian agriculture, and then at the end of such session, release an annual statement of key points.
I’d suggest as a priority, significant tax and tape cuts are included in such key points. And further suggest we should prioritise our to be cut list, pointing out specifically which government tape should go first, and I’d suggest including, the unnecessary shortage of good water in this country.
I think our mini G20 for agriculture should borrow from Prime Minister Modi’s successful mantra, I repeat, “From Red Tape to Red Carpet” to remind us each year of such an important principle, and enshrine this in our own forum principles. And I’d like to suggest we add another reminder to help guide our mini G20, from another great world leader, President Reagan “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
I think this needs repeating, as there’s too many who seem to be forgetting this, in their toddle towards a nanny state. A nanny state where the government controls our lives and businesses more and more, even when they haven’t had to manage stations and farms, suffer droughts, and fires, and don’t have a crystal ball and the reality is, don’t actually know what’s best for us!
And I’d like to add another item to enshrine in this mini G20 for agriculture, and that is something that’s increasingly forgotten, you have to produce wealth before you can spend it. So much talk by government and media today, is on the spend part, the producing the wealth first, gets scarce attention!
What do you think?
Wouldn’t it be great to start this initiative in West Australia!
We as pastoralists and farmers are best placed to determine where investment should go for the properties we know, I underline this, the properties we know, and we should advise government. Not the other way around.
Imagine what we could do in our industry, with tax and government tape cuts, more water, and having more say on where our own hard earned money is invested. I think we could be the best in the world!
Now I know Tony would have a terrific forum planned for you, but firstly I want to say, a huge congratulations and thanks to the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, and to their terrific President, Tony Seabrook, for all they do for our industry and the brave stand they tirelessly take, standing up for our industry. Indeed for West Australians too.
Please join me in applause.
When I was a young girl many years ago in the saddle at Hamersley Station in the Pilbara, loving my life on the station, I never imagined that one day I would be invited to co-open a forum for the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, an association my father always held in very high regard, and that very high regard has certainly continued with me.
It is a real honour for me to now declare your important forum open.
I look forward to joining you later in the afternoon, and I hope also to seeing you at our national day gala dinner tonight! And not just tonight, next years in Adelaide, and then the next years in Queensland!
In the interim, best wishes to each of you on National Agriculture and Related Industries Day. And I greatly hope you all get the rain you, your families, your cattle and sheep, so need and deserve.