The West

Mining industry accepts it doesn t own minerals
Mining industry accepts it doesn't own minerals

A lobby group for the mining industry says it agrees with the prime minister that miners don't own the nation's resources.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard told a dinner hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia last night that Australians deserved to benefit from the mining boom.

The nation's resources belonged to its people and not the government or mining companies, she said.

Mitchell Hooke, who heads the Minerals Council of Australia, said Ms Gillard's remarks were well received.

The industry had never contested the fact that the sovereign state owns the minerals.

"She's quite right," Mr Hooke told ABC Radio.

"We pay the taxes and royalties for the privilege of developing what is Australia's natural endowment.

"We never cry poor."

The debate was about whether Australians were getting their fair share.

Cabinet minister Stephen Conroy this morning echoed Ms Gillard's comments.

"The mining companies are doing a fantastic job on behalf of the country and on behalf of their shareholders," he told the Nine Network.

"But all Australians deserve some of that wealth to be spread around Australia so that everyone can benefit from it."

Labor senator Doug Cameron, who was a guest at the dinner, said he was disappointed by speeches by mining industry representatives.

"I think the speeches from some of the Minerals Council people were a bit as if they were in a parallel universe," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It's as if the mining industry is down on its knees and (that) we shouldn't share the benefits of the mining industry."

The West Australian

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