Gina Rinehart says mining industry used as govt ATM

Mining industry being treated as ATM, says Gina Rinehart

AUSTRALIA'S richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has accused the Australian government of using the mining industry like an automatic teller machine while blasting Aboriginal claims for compensation.

Ms Rinehart delivered a blunt message, by video link, to the Australian Minerals and Metals Association conference in Melbourne today.

The increasingly reclusive head of Hancock Resources latest address cites governments with "thoughts clouded by six record years of revenue".

"They seemed to think the ATM would never empty and never need refilling," she said.

"They seemed to think we could somehow afford to be increasingly cost uncompetitive and become deeper in debt."

Ms Rinehart said the mining industry was the only hope for Australia not heading down the path of European countries fighting rising debt from overspending governments.

"It needs to keep reminding Australians this - that without mining and its related industries this country has no hope of repaying our record debt without facing the problems Greece and other countries faced with overspending and consequent debt traumas."

Fairfax reported that Ms Rinehart will also use her conference address to take a stab at aboriginal leaders who have argued Woodside Petroleum and the WA government were "morally obliged" to support a $1.5 billion compensation package, despite the shelving of a $40 billion gas plant near Broome.

"This is spending the money of a resource company without giving even the company itself the chance to first earn it," she says in the address.

Her latest video comes the morning after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's budget reply last night, and echoes similar sentiments.

She also cited Woodside Energy's abandonment of the James Price Point project as an example of how government costs were hurting the mining industry.

However, Ms Rinehart failed to give any direct evidence state and federal government regulation had directly contributed to the scrapping of the JPP project.

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