January 11, 2013
In Phantom deferrals stoke unfounded fears on the Drum Tony Maher spells out the phantom deferral tactic that Big Mining uses to further its political agenda.
Maher outlines that agenda:
The big mining companies, spearheaded by the Minerals Council of Australia, have spelt out their political agenda: lower taxes, weaker workplace laws, less red and green tape, easier access to foreign workers. All of this adds up to free rein for companies to make easy money and less benefit from mining to the broader community. In pursuit of this agenda, it suits the mining industry to pretend things are going to hell in a hand basket. But they aren't.
Then he spells out the tactic they use:
Enter the phantom mining project deferral. The major public announcement of a mining project being 'shelved', with all the alarm that attracts, has become a favoured tactic of an industry willing to whip up fear about jobs and the state of the economy to advance its own interests....Announcing a delay on projects that haven't started yet is an easy way to panic governments and the public, without actually doing anything.
He adds that in an election year, we can expect an escalation in phantom deferrals and other tricks of the trade from the powerful mining lobby. It t pays to look at what the mining companies do, not what they say.
Delaying projects until the numbers align, adjusting a project's shape and specifications in line with changing demand, commodity prices and circumstances - that's what mining companies do. It's their business as usual.
What Maher doesn't say is how Big Mining is able to use its power to capture state governments which then pursue the political agenda of the big miners. Hence all the anti-federalism talk coming out of Perth, with Canberra seen as imposing red and green tape that comes from the power of green ideology over the commonwealth government. Or in NSW or Queensland with respect to supporting coal mines and coal-seam gas projects at the expense of community interests.