The mining boom is far from over, and Australia’s miners must calm down when it comes to their austerity drives, says outgoing mining lobbyist Mitch Hooke.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive Mr Hooke, who is stepping down after 12 years, said the development of emerging economies such as China had a long way to run.
He described the unprecedented demand for Australia’s raw materials as a “new normal”.
“The global economic re-weighting, driven by the twin forces of urbanisation and industrialisation, will continue for at least the next decade,” he told a Melbourne Mining Club lunch.
“I suggest there is real downside risk if this rather unrelenting focus becomes more akin to foetal position-like behaviour, as markets and industry tend to over react.”
Too often in its history the mining industry had been reactive rather than proactive and should be pre-empting and shaping cycles rather than following them, he said.
He took one last swipe as MCA chief at the former Labor federal government, accusing it of the politics of class envy and warfare and redistributing wealth rather than growing it through productivity.
He said a lowlight of his tenure was the $25 million PR campaign he helped run against Labor’s mining tax that is regarded as having helped bring down then PM Kevin Rudd.
However it had to be done because it was the worst public policy he had ever seen and a period of economic reform as occurred in the Hawke-Howard era were needed again, he said.