One day, Gina Rinehart is projected to be worth $100 billion. In the past, I’ve argued she should use a big chunk of that money to do something grand, like fund an entire Aussie space program.

The kind of bridges you'd expect with an extra $200 billion in infrastructure funding. Picture: Herald Sun

So imagine what two particularly philanthropic Ginas could do if they both decided to invest $100 billion into Australian infrastructure.

According to reports this week, during secret mining tax negotiations the day before he was knifed as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd struck an in-principle deal with mining exec Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest that would’ve allowed mining companies to avoid liability for the 40 per cent mining tax by instead writing off their capital expenditure on Australian infrastructure. Estimates suggested the plan would’ve pumped at least $200 billion into Australian infrastructure every five years. A huge deal for the country.

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has dismissed the allegations, which came from Twiggy Forrest, as “rehashed nonsense”. But The Punch was curious: what could such an eye-popping sum do for Australian infrastructure? What could it do when Australia’s biggest cities are crying out for new infrastructure?

Just to put it in context, an Associate Professor of Economics, Cameron Gordon, from the University of Canberra, told The Punch yesterday over the next 20 to 30 years the nation needs $1 trillion to $4 trillion in infrastructure spending. In the shorter timespan of every five years, an added $200 billion would make a nice dent in that figure.

In the 2009–10 Budget the Federal Government committed $8.5 billion to projects for road, rail and port infrastructure - on top of the spending state governments make as well. Private sector spending is harder to quantify.

Professor Gordon said that a huge amount of that $200 billiion sum would have to go into repairing and upgrading infrastructure - an amount that’s difficult to quantify without knowing what the government’s potential infrastructure priorities. And much of infrastructure spending would have to go towards building and maintaining non-transport infrastructure like electricity and water supply.

But if just an extra, say, $30 billion of that $200 billion went into new transport infrastructure every five years, we could build several new major projects across the country that we currently can’t afford.

The Brisbane cross-river rail link is an $8 billion project. An M4 East motorway in Sydney would cost $10 billion. Hypothetically, we’d be able to afford three of such massive projects every five years on top of the infrastructure already being built.

We aren’t privy to some of the specifics of the Rudd-Forrest deal, if it even in fact existed in the first place.

Would the mining companies be in control of their infrastructure investments? Would it go into a blind or government trust? Would they form public-private partnerships, which have had limited success but can, according to Professor Gordon, actually work if designed well? How much of that $200 billion would go into electricity and other essentials?

I guess now we’ll never know. At least, unless Gina’s willing to open her purse…

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72 comments

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    • TimB says:

      06:02am | 20/04/12

      Joe Hildebrand seems to think the deal existed. And as others have noted, Gillard has not explicitly denied it..

      Anyway here’s Hildebrand’s thoughts on the whole fiasco. Well worth a watch!

      http://youtu.be/O9QEowWmSSc

    • gobsmack says:

      09:40am | 20/04/12

      Even if true, it shows that the mining companies weren’t prepared to indulge in this so-called philanthropy until threatened by the mining tax.
      Howard never got close to extracting a similar commitment.

    • TimB says:

      10:24am | 20/04/12

      “Even if true, it shows that the mining companies weren’t prepared to indulge in this so-called philanthropy until threatened by the mining tax.”

      Who says they had to? Sure it’s a nice thing to do, but it’s hardly an obligation.

      “Howard never got close to extracting a similar commitment. “

      Again, so what? Why should we even expect that commitment? They pay their taxes on profits like every other company, and then royalties on top of that. Why was Howard expected to use the same bullying tacticis of the ALP and squeeze them for more money?

    • gobsmack says:

      01:25pm | 20/04/12

      @TimB
      Whether the mining companies should or not is a separate question.
      The issue about the existence of “the deal” (which you raise in your post) is the suggestion that Rudd had managed to extraxt concessions from the mining companies and somehow Gillard had squibbed it.
      Why should Howard have got off his lazy arse and pushed hard for a deal worth billions that would benefit all Australians?

    • TimB says:

      02:53pm | 20/04/12

      Gobsmack, it’s not a seperate issue.

      There is no expectation from fair minded people for the miners to contribute more than they already do. Therefore there was no need for John Howard to go and inflict a new tax on them, or alternatively extract concessions from them.

      Kevin Rudd thought differently. He’d blown the surplus showering everyone with stimulus money, and needed to top up the piggybank- Enter the miners.

      Just because Kevin Rudd decided to threaten the miners with a new tax, does not mean that John Howard is somehow a lesser person for not doing the same. Indeed I give him far more credit than Rudd, because the only reason Rudd (and now Gillard) went after the miners was to get them to bail him out of his financial woes.

    • Tim says:

      03:24pm | 20/04/12

      TimB,
      “There is no expectation from fair minded people for the miners to contribute more than they already do”

      Speak for yourself.
      The percentage tax take compared to mining profits made (including royalties) has reduced significantly in recent years due to the commodity boom.
      The original mining tax as it was in the Henry review would have been good for our country and helped our economy avoid the current problems with a two speed economy.

      If you were owned a product sold through a retailer and the retailer started selling that product for double what they were previously, would you think you were deserving of a larger cut?

    • gobsmack says:

      03:44pm | 20/04/12

      @TimB
      You continue to avoid the issue you originally raised.
      As for Hildebrand, he can’t decide if he’s a comedian or a political analyst and fails in both fields.

    • Max Power says:

      03:58pm | 20/04/12

      Australia should never allowed foreign companies and governments to buy up our resource sector. If we owned it all, 100% of the profit would stay here and we would have more control of the price.
      we can’t whinge about not getting enough money from the resource sector when Governments have allowed much of the profit to head offshore. We wouldn’t be needing increased taxes if we didn’t allow foreign ownership of our resource sector.

    • Economist says:

      04:05pm | 20/04/12

      TimB “There is no expectation from fair minded people for the miners to contribute more than they already do” I disagee with this assertion. We tax various products ans services at different rates. On the flip side we provide concessions and special treatment for various industries all of which is perfectly acceptable.

      Excluding royalities the effective tax rate paid by miners is lower than the average. I’m in the royalty is simply a input cost, not a tax group. Coca Cola pays for water is that a tax? Banks pay for money is that a tax?

    • Markus says:

      04:19pm | 20/04/12

      “If you were owned a product sold through a retailer and the retailer started selling that product for double what they were previously, would you think you were deserving of a larger cut?”
      Perhaps, but that is up to the states to decide, not the Federal government.
      Try as they might, the Federal government have no right to the royalties on state-owned mineral resources.

    • TimB says:

      05:12pm | 20/04/12

      What is all this guff about ‘effective tax rate’?

      They pay 30% on net profits same as every other company in the country.  And royalties on top of that. It’s that simple.

      And Tim what Markus said. The feds don’t own the resources, the states do. The federal government doesn’t deserve a cut of squat.

    • TimB says:

      05:29pm | 20/04/12

      And Gobsmack I’m avoiding nothing. You’re criticisng Howard for not taking an action he should not have been expected to take, just because Rudd came up with a retarded idea.

      I can go and hand out $50 notes to everyone on the street tomorrow. Can
      I bitch at you for being a ‘lazy ass’ and not doing the same? You could have benefited dozens of your fellow neighbours! For shame.

    • Economist says:

      06:43pm | 20/04/12

      No an effective tax rate is a better indicator because it takes into account subsidies and concessions etc.

      The top personal tax bracket in the country is 45% are these people paying 45% of their taxable income (net profit) to the government? no. It’s a progressive tax system. Their net tax paid is a lower percentage,.the effective rate if you earn $180,001 is 30.3%.

    • TimB says:

      07:41pm | 20/04/12

      Jeeze I thought you were better than this Economist.

      Comparing companies to individuals is ridiculous. Individuals have multiple tax brackets. Companies don’t.

      Of course the individual in question doesn’t pay 45% on his income. H pays’ 45% on every dollar over $180,000. Other segments of his income are taxed at other rates.

      Companies pay 30% on net profit.  There is only one tax bracket. For all businesses. Period.

      If the government is so concerned about subsidies and what have you, they can remove them.

    • Economist says:

      09:20pm | 20/04/12

      Yes Tim B how dare I try and explain marginal effective tax rates in a way that people may understand. Silly me.

      Clearly it’s been futile in this case. I’m just going to swivel around in my chair and put the point to the plaster wall.

      One last try to help you out in case it comes up in the future.  You know that stat that a lot of right wingers throw around about 40% of the population pay no net tax? Well according to your methodology they do if they currently earn over the tax free threshold, they pay tax, lets ignore the fact that they receive benefits via subsidisies and concessions etc. in a greater amount. Its like taxing people at a 100% and then returning to them 110%. and the people go bugger that I object being taxed at 100%.

    • Economist says:

      09:30pm | 20/04/12

      Actually I want to take that comment back and apologise, it has far too much sarcasm and it not productive to the discussion. I’d genuinely like you to understand the concept, because it’s a pretty important concept when debating tax.

    • TimB says:

      09:50pm | 20/04/12

      So let me get this straight. You talk about subsidies and concessions and use them to argue about how little ‘effective’ tax they pay.  But then you turn around and claim extra penalties like royalties are just an ‘input cost’.

      You’re trying to have it both ways. Sorry.

      Some businesses get subsidies. Some don’t. Some make deductions based on the cost of office equipment. Others on their cars.  Some don’t. Some businesses pay royalties. Some don’t.

      Every business in every sector is different. But at the end of the day once everything is calulcated, deducted etc you;re left with one figure: your net profit. And it gets taxed at 30% across the board.

      Again if the goverment really thinks that miners are getting too good a deal with subsidies, they can stop them at any time. They aren’t. Instead they’re going for the simplistic ‘tax ‘em more!’ option.

      The miners pay their fair share the same as every other business. Picking on them just because they’re sucessful and Gillard has a budget hole to fill is idiotic.

    • Economist says:

      12:23pm | 21/04/12

      No royalties are an input cost, it’s compensation paid for use of property, just because you’re purchasing of government doesn’t make it a tax. Yes Governments are their own worst enemy for calling it a tax, which I believes what they do, but it’s wrong.

      AS for the mining tax and greedy Gillard, what a blessing to the states. The states have the freedom to increase royalities, the cost of purchasing the product, the governments price for the product, and the effect on mining companies is limited as the Feds pay it back to the companies. Abbott comes in and gets rid of the mining tax, but the royalty increases stay. Now tell me what is more detrimental to production? A significant price increase of an input cost, or a tax that you only pay on your net income?

      If you’re a small mine, what’s going to hurt you more a permanent increase in production costs, or a tax you only have to pay if you make a profit? And if the price of your final product falls and your margins fall and your profit falls what’s going to put to out of business a high input cost you can’t afford, or a tax you’re unlikely to pay. Please do tell. . .  as for getting rid of the subsidies, endorsed generally, but need to look at the specific aspects.

    • TimB says:

      02:03pm | 21/04/12

      Economist, royalties may be an ‘input cost’ as you put it,. but the point is that cost goes right into State government coffers it’s doesn’t matter if it’s pre-tax or post tax. The miners are giving money to the government.Then the Federal government gets its usual income tax cut on top of that.

      This entire ‘miners need to pay their fair share’ mantra is dishonest and divisive spin, as is the false declaration that Australians own the resources (the states do). It’s designed to influence those voters who have an entitlement mentality.

      And it’s especially dishonest when it’s coming from the same government that hands out all the subsidies and whatnot you speak of.  You can’t whinge about ‘getting a better share of mining wealth for Australians’ whilst simultaneously handing them money on a plate. It’s ludicrous.

    • Little Joe says:

      06:04am | 20/04/12

      And what would have benn the impacts on inflation and interest rates.

      Silly little arts students

    • Denny says:

      06:04am | 20/04/12

      This again shows the hypocracy and dishonesty of Gillard. Just when ou think she cant go any lower she turns around and proves you wrong. She will do anything, say anything and destroy everything to retain power.

      Still, that her nature and she cant be held to account. The two men who really should be ashamed are windsor and jokeshott. Tey are propping up and supporting the most dishonest, incompetent, gutless, irresponsible, untrustworthy grub of a person ever to hold the top office. Traitors to their electorates and to the Australian people at large.

      Labor is determined to alienate everybody in the community bar their rusted on supporters and the mates whom they have given huge paying jobs to. Sooner or later she will be bought to account and we will be dancing in the street.

    • Shane says:

      12:12pm | 20/04/12

      I’m surprised you didn’t throw in a Juliar for good measure.  I’m so so SO sick of hearing about Gillard and how awful she is.  This article is about the alleged in-principle deal.  How about usefully commenting on that instead?

    • Economic Refugee, Germany says:

      06:20am | 20/04/12

      We could pay off the debt that Kevin Rudd got us into,

    • Harold says:

      08:45am | 20/04/12

      We could buy back Telstra and do the national communications infrastructure properly.
      Oh wait, we are.

    • Dean says:

      06:54am | 20/04/12

      Why should any of the mining giants pay anything for public infrastructure? The only responsibility any of these guys have to Australia is to continue to make a profit. Gina and the rest of these mining giants already pay taxes so why should we ask for more? However I do agree that the government shouldn’t be making deals giving tax cuts to only certain giants either.

    • acotrel says:

      07:41am | 20/04/12

      Australian billionaires haven’t learned about philanthropy yet ? How about setting up a foundation for breeding better polo ponies ?

    • fml says:

      08:22am | 20/04/12

      I want my fair share of the dirt.

      With out australia’s minerals they would be nothing.

      Australian resources belong to Australian’s not the Gina and Twiggy’s.

      Tell me, what is going to happen when the dirt runs out? How many people would be out of a job?? how much money are we going to get from the mining capitalists??

      Creating infrastructure now creates jobs for the future, its in Australia’s best interests, not the interests of one individual

    • fairsfair says:

      08:32am | 20/04/12

      acotrel this isn’t the USA. We don’t rely on philanthropy and donations to hospitals by the rich to ensure that we have a bed when we are sick.

      We all pay tax (some seriously high values) to ensure basic services. The fact that the funds are being poorly managed by successive governments who have made some seriously bad decisions should not be burden of the richest people in this country. We ditched the class system so that we weren’t at the mercy of the rich throwing us breadcrumbs and I sure as hell don’t want to return to that. You can’t have your cake and eat it to - you can’t tell the rich to provide and then not surrender them more control over the direction of this nation. 

      And stop insulting people who have worked hard and stood up in the face of risk (both financial and personal) to make their money.  You yourself are such a “risk aware and highly qualified individual” - surely you of all people know that engaging in business of this nature is far from a walk in the park. Many people have tried and never got it off the ground - ditch the thinly veiled jealousy you hold toward people who have the smarts and the good fortune to make it work.

    • L. says:

      08:51am | 20/04/12

      FML says

      “I want my fair share of the dirt..”

      If you live in a mining state then you are already getting your share via the royalities the mining companies pay.

    • L. says:

      08:56am | 20/04/12

      acotrel says

      “Australian billionaires haven’t learned about philanthropy yet ?”

      Why do they have to..??

    • CBR says:

      09:31am | 20/04/12

      @fml “I want my fair share of the dirt”

      Unless you plan on paying for exploration licenses, exploring, testing, digging and extracting that dirt, i.e. coughing up a couple of billion dollars to do it, you get your fair share in state royalties. Stop whingeing.

    • Max Power says:

      09:51am | 20/04/12

      Well FML, if you want your fair share of the dirt here is a novel idea. Take your money and invest in a mining company through the form of shares. Then when the mining companies pay their dividends you get your fair share of the dirt. The more you invest the more you get.
      Or if that isn’t enough for your fair share of dirt, take your money, borrow a bucket load more and set up a mining company. You take all the risks involved in funding, finding and extracting the resources and earn your fair share of dirt.
      Clearly you’re interests are more important than the countries, afterall, you want your fair share of the dirt, a fair share you haven’t earnt.

    • Bev says:

      10:26am | 20/04/12

      They used to before FBT was introduced by Keating.  Mt Iza and Broken hill but two examples.  Australia’s population is concentrated in large cities and is getting more so year by year.  Because setting up towns and amenities close to mines now attracts tax they don’t do it prefering the cheaper option of fly in fly out. I read that the rate of employees leaving is increasing as it is utterly devastating to family life.  Moving these people out of the cities eases the pressure on infrastucture and housing costs in cities.  If the FBT on creating towns was removed I believe mining companies would go back to building local towns.  Diversifying the population spread and easing the pressure in cities.  Present family breakdown would decrease and mining companies would have a more stable workforce.  I don’t however see it happening as the usual suspects would scream that companies were being let off the hook and were being given “special treatment”.

    • acotrel says:

      10:43am | 20/04/12

      @fairsfair
      ‘acotrel this isn’t the USA. We don’t rely on philanthropy and donations to hospitals by the rich to ensure that we have a bed when we are sick.’

      We will get there - the LNP will see to that !

    • acotrel says:

      10:55am | 20/04/12

      @fairsfair
      ’ Many people have tried and never got it off the ground - ditch the thinly veiled jealousy you hold toward people who have the smarts and the good fortune to make it work’

      I’m never jealous of people who’ve made their own fortune.  The ones I object to are those who’ve done that, and then get into ‘downwards envy’, bashing ‘dole bludgers’ and every other kind of pensioner without even a vestige of empathy.
      They never seem to recognise that plenty of other people have ‘done it hard’ and for various valid reasons haven’t accumulated wealth.  Have you ever met a wealthy scientist who was not a medical practitioner, or a wealthy engineer who hasn’t somehow scrambled into his own business ? There are thousands of people who’ve built careers based on years of study who end up with minimal super. Many live as self-funded retirees, without even pensioner concessions for medication for illnesses caused during their working lives.

    • L. says:

      11:46am | 20/04/12

      “I’m never jealous of people who’ve made their own fortune.”

      No arotrel, you just get angry when they don’t give you some…

    • fml says:

      11:51am | 20/04/12

      “Clearly you’re interests are more important than the countries, afterall,”

      No my interests are in the Nations long term interest. Not short term gain.

    • Max Power says:

      12:32pm | 20/04/12

      FML: You stated “I want my fair share of the dirt”

      What part of the statement mentions anything about the nations best interests, all it mentions is you and what you want.

      Personally, I think the mining companies are suitably taxed. The question shouldn’t be why aren’t the mining companies giving more to Australia. But where the hell has the money gone that the governments have received. Qld is a resource rich state rding the mining the boom, why the hell is Qld in so much debt with nothing to show for it other than a couple of new sports stadiums. Where has the money gone, the education system, health system, roads, public transport are all shot in Qld.
      Instead of thinking of new ways to raise money, Governments should be held accountable for their spending and stop wasting the taxes they receive. No matter how much tax revenue governments raise, it will never be enough, they will always want more.

    • ianc says:

      12:58pm | 20/04/12

      CBR anf L you are providing good reasons for nationalising the resourse sector.

    • fml says:

      01:13pm | 20/04/12

      Max Power,

      “FML: You stated “I want my fair share of the dirt” “

      Yes, as a citizen that is part of australia.

      ““What part of the statement mentions anything about the nations best interests, all it mentions is you and what you want.”, Its extremely dishonest to take one part of my comment and paint me as a selfish individual. If you bothered to read the rest of that comment you would see that i explained it further.

      “Creating infrastructure now creates jobs for the future, its in Australia’s best interests, not the interests of one individual “

      Australia’s raw minerals are owned by its citizens, its NOT a right owed to mining companies.

      “I think the mining companies are suitably taxed.” I don’t.

      “I’m never jealous of people who’ve made their own fortune.  The ones I object to are those who’ve done that, and then get into ‘downwards envy’, bashing ‘dole bludgers’ and every other kind of pensioner without even a vestige of empathy.”

      I agree, the same way i hate it when mining magnates cry poor forgetting the nation that made them.

      “Instead of thinking of new ways to raise money” I disagree, new ways of generating income is just as important for the government as it is for business.

      “No matter how much tax revenue governments raise, it will never be enough, they will always want more. ” Of course they do, with population increases its only natural.

    • Max Power says:

      03:50pm | 20/04/12

      I did nothing to paint you as a selfish individual, you did that all on your own. If you don’t want to appear as though you are a selfish person with a sense of entitlement, don’t use the words ” I want my fair share”. I want my fair share is not the same as, nor similar to “the best interests of the country”. One is a collective the other is an individual, so it comes across as two separate points.

      It is not the responsibility of those who work hard to be taxed heavily to fund the lives of other people.  There are plenty of programs in place for people to get ahead in life. Just because they are too lazy or too stupid to ultilise them, doesn’t mean those who do should be forced to give a free ride to them.Clearly, the aged and disabled (who are not able to perform any work) are different.  Why should families earning above X amount be taxed to fund the lifestyles of a family earning less than X.

      Socialists can try to bring peter up to paul or bring paul down to peter, all they like. Ultimately what will happen is, paul will give up trying to get ahead because he is punished for his success. Why bother trying to succeed when the reward for your hard work is taken from you and given to someone else. Someone who hasn’t earnt it, because they and the govt think it is their entitlement to live off the hard work of others.

      If you think taxing some people more than their fair share to fund the lives of others who don’t pay their fair share is right, then I would say you aren’t one of the ones being taxed more.

    • acotrel says:

      07:12am | 20/04/12

      The Liberal party has never been big on spending public money on infrastructure, why would their friends be any different about spending their own ?  The basic rule of business is ‘spend a dollar to make a dollar’ but the Libs don’t seem to have ever learned it.  They still claim to be the best economy managers.  Perhaps it’s a demonstration of ye olde adage ’ self praise is no recommendation’ ?  The Labor party built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Snowy Hydro Scheme, and now the NBN is on the way. ‘Don’t hide your light under a bushell’ probably applies to them !
      Forget Gina Reinhart, she is irrelevant to Australia’s future.

    • ShamWow says:

      08:51am | 20/04/12

      C’mon Punch, if you are going to ban Erick for touting the same story every day, how about kicking acotrel out at the same time.

    • Matt says:

      10:17am | 20/04/12

      I second ShamWow’s suggestion.

    • acotrel says:

      11:08am | 20/04/12

      @Sham Wow and Matt
      Go away and grow some feathers, then come back and talk sensibly.
      Then you can tell me about all the things the Libs have done to make Australia decentralise and grow,

    • Bev says:

      11:45am | 20/04/12

      acotrel says:12:08pm | 20/04/12
      Removing FBT on mining companies for putting in infrustructure would help.  Thats why the don’t do it because it’s a tax on expenditure.

      Guess who put FTB in place for infrastructure development? Hmm.

    • Borderer says:

      11:54am | 20/04/12

      Pay off debt created by the previous labor government….

    • acotrel says:

      12:31pm | 20/04/12

      @ShamWow
      Are you saying that I am ‘off topic’ ?
      Every time we’ve had a conservative government, it has sat on its hands and built nothing for Australia’s future, and we are not supposed to notice ?  Downer even admitted it about the Howard government and laughed it off !  Now Abbott has the bloody cheek to shit-can the NBN !
      When is the LNP going to become more creative and constructive and less interested in helping its mate’s ?  I suggest ‘pigs might fly’ !

    • ShamWow says:

      02:17pm | 20/04/12

      @acotrel
      My point is that your posts are all the same, Labor = good, Liberals = evil. As I mentioned, there was a prominent puncher who was banned for continually pushing the one topic. I find it highly doubtful that you can truthfully support the Labor party and all their decisions with such unwavering zeal.

      And yes your comment is off topic, hit ctrl + f and type Liberal or Abbott, you will find that the these words are only present in your posts, all of which being negative rants. I have no loyalties to any particular party and am happy to share my honest opinion on any party’s stance on any topic. If you are only hear to tow the party line, well, there is no point in you being here as we have plenty of Labor members doing that already.

    • Tedd says:

      07:18am | 20/04/12

      In the last 10 yrs Australia has gone the way of the US, tax cuts at the expense of appropriate govt maintenance and growth. Its starting to hurt and will hurt more.

      Apparently Gina’s billions are just from rights to minerals on Crown land ....

    • Dazza says:

      09:26am | 20/04/12

      Well feel free to put your money where your mouth is and get into mining exploration.

    • morrgo says:

      07:58am | 20/04/12

      The author has basic problems of understanding financial matters.

      Ms Reinhart’s “worth” is an asset value that cannot be spent again and again.  She may realize that value once if she sells the lot, but that’s it then. 

      The assets produce a yearly revenue stream that is much smaller and would not fill the gap in our infrastructure needs anywhere near the extent dreamed of in the article.

    • Ianc says:

      12:15pm | 20/04/12

      I’m sure Gina agrees with your analysis.

    • job says:

      08:03am | 20/04/12

      Another yes folks another major ALP/Gillard stuff up!!!!!!

    • Arthur says:

      08:42am | 20/04/12

      Our politicians are so bad at running the country they need to ask the wealthy Kings and Queens for handouts?

    • Cranky ol' Bugga says:

      10:08am | 20/04/12

      There is a limit to how much money one can lavish on oneself including family (or not in La Rinehardt’s case), so why not invest the rest in the country that has made you filthy rich?

    • L. says:

      11:56am | 20/04/12

      “so why not invest the rest in the country that has made you filthy rich? “

      Ummm..because they don’t wanna..??

      How’s that?

    • Markus says:

      04:30pm | 20/04/12

      Because as a public company they are legally obligated to work in the best interest of their shareholders first and foremost.
      i.e. the ones who have actually made them filthy rich.

    • Anjuli says:

      10:26am | 20/04/12

      With that type of money we should be living in Utopia , instead we can’t even get the roads swept keeping the leaves and other stuff out of the gutters so that the drains in suburban streets don’t flood in winter.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:32am | 20/04/12

      Life is like a monopoly game. When we are born, we are born into a game that has already been going for thousands of years. All of those currently playing have inherited their positions at the board. Very few have become wealthy based solely on their own merits. Some are born to be hotel owners and others are born to pay them the rent.

      Life is hardly a meritocracy – and not everyone starts the game equal. Social and economic “superiority” is largely inherited.

    • Anubis says:

      10:48am | 20/04/12

      The author atates “And much of infrastructure spending would have to go towards building and maintaining non-transport infrastructure like electricity and water supply”

      Aren’t we getting charged a motza by the privatised elctricity and water industries so they can upgrade their infrastructure? Even though this is a part of their “doing business” it has been cited time and time again, particularly by the elctricity mobs, that their almost 70% increases over the past ten years are due to the need to upgrade infrastructure. . So where does the Government spending come into it if we are already getting charged for this?

    • RonaldR says:

      11:02am | 20/04/12

      Our Resource harvesters are the greediest Bunch of people you will ever come across. I am just sorry that whitlam did not succeed in nationalizing our Resources so Australia and Australians would benefit instead of just receiving a few crumbs while the nations wealth is being milked by a few. In decades to Come Australia will be mined out ,have no food production and no manufacturing.

    • acotrel says:

      11:20am | 20/04/12

      I wonder how much incentive payment the geologists, mining engineers, and lab scientists receive from mining comanies for finding vast deposits of minerals by using their professional expertise, gained through years of study and experience ? Perhaps it might have been better done if Menzies had charged CSIRO with doing exploration in the fifties?  Then the Commonwealth would have owned the lot !

    • TimB says:

      11:50am | 20/04/12

      Tons. My cousin finished a geology degree a few year ago and now is making a motza doing exactly what you describe.

      Memo to those whining about a fair share- This is just another way to get some.

    • L. says:

      11:58am | 20/04/12

      “I wonder how much incentive payment the geologists, mining engineers, and lab scientists receive from mining comanies….”

      They receive exactly what they are happy to work for is my guess…

    • Aitch B says:

      01:46pm | 20/04/12

      @acotrel

      If I develop some spiffy software for one of my clients then they and my employer reap most of the benefits, not me. The client gets the benefits that the solution provides and my employer gets the revenue from the development of it. I get a portion of that in the form of a salary.

      You might not understand this, acotrel but it’s called “doing your job”. Why should I receive an incentive (actually, you should call it a ‘bonus’) for doing what I’m paid to do?

    • Andrew says:

      11:40am | 20/04/12

      A few questions to be raised with Twiggy:

      1) How can he complain about industry not being cosulted about Gillard’s MRRT when he didn’t consult BHP, Rio or Xstrata with HIS plan with Rudd?

      2) Twiggy contends that he had an improved MRRT that provided tax breaks for infrastructure investment. Was this mining only investment or would we be driving around on BHP toll roads or going to Rio schools?

      3) If Twiggy had his own tweaked MRRT plan that he endorsed, how can he mount a High Court challenge to a different MRRT plan on the basis that it breaches the Constitution? Does this mean that HIS plan would have also breached the Constitution?

    • Bill of Perth says:

      11:56am | 20/04/12

      The miners will leave Australia and go somewhere else if we charge them a fair price or our minerals.

      Perhaps they’ll go to Argentina?
      “Facing intense criticism over the nationalisation of its biggest oil firm, Argentina has ordered the seizure of YPF Gas, another group controlled by Spain’s Repsol, a move expected to further inflame tensions.

      In a case that has sparked fears of a new wave of expropriations, a statement published in the official gazette said the Argentine Government was declaring YPF Gas a public utility and taking 51 per cent of the shares.

      YPF Gas is not technically part of the YPF oil group ordered nationalised this week, leading to global condemnation, but a separate company.”
      http://tinyurl.com/czrom8b

      West Australia is leading the mining boom, yet we pay the highest prices for energy. Why don’t the buffoons who give out leases for coal and gas put guaranteed supply at cost prices for it’s citizens? In that manner, all West Australians would actually benefit from the mining boom instead of the Lib Nats just saying we are.

    • marley says:

      12:11pm | 20/04/12

      Are you paying the highest costs because the fuel is more expensive, or because it costs more per capita to provide infrastructure in WA, than it does to provide infrastructure in the ACT?

    • Bill of Perth says:

      01:01pm | 20/04/12

      @ marley
      Yes

    • Mark/Fox says:

      07:51pm | 20/04/12

      Can I exchange that money for population control, life would be more enjoyable. I dont need your concrete jungle its proving itself to a load of Crap, congestion, overcrowding, enviromental destruction. I hate the Greens because they want this want that, save everyone in the world, save the enviroment. Sustainable management is what we need not this bull$#i+ populate till we perish idea.

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      01:55pm | 15/12/12

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