Minerals Council boss to discuss looming industry challenges

17 September 2012

The man who helped transform the Federal Government's proposed mining super profits tax into the Minerals Resource Rent Tax will this week discuss current challenges facing the sector at a free public address at the University of Sydney.

Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Mitch Hooke will on Wednesday outline the "perfect storm" facing the mining and resources sector at the Sydney Law School's 2012 Kevin McCann Lecture on Energy and Resources Law.

He says the "mining boom" is not over but it is changing: Australia's supply of minerals has caught up with, and perhaps exceeded, demand; commodity prices are easing; and profit margins are shrinking in the face of escalating costs.

"As the industry shifts from an era of price-led growth to volume-led growth, Australia is found wanting, increasingly vulnerable to competition from resource-rich emerging economies," he says.

"National complacency, economic policy reform inertia and the politics of envy focused on the redistributive, rather than the productive, side of the economy, are all contributing to this vulnerability."

Mr Hooke says public policy threatening to constrain Australia's supply capacity will result in diminished national prosperity, threatening the fundamental tenet of sustainable development. He will argue in his address that few people contest the imperative of sustainable development and its three pillars: environmental concern, social stewardship and economic development.

"This equation has been popularly and properly viewed through the prism of ensuring environmental management and social welfare are pillars of equal imperative to economic development," he says. "But I suspect few appreciate that the economic pillar similarly needs servicing. It cannot be on auto-pilot, particularly if it is headed in the wrong direction."

The annual Kevin McCann Lecture on Energy and Resources Law is a platform for distinguished public figures to discuss issues in the energy and resources sector, and is part of the law school's Global Energy and Resources Law teaching program. It is supported by Kevin McCann AM, an alumnus of Sydney Law School, chairman of Origin Energy Limited, Macquarie Group Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited, and a director of BlueScope Steel Limited and a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney. The lecture is also supported by the Macquarie Foundation.

Event details

What: 2012 Kevin McCann Lecture on Energy and Resources Law: Mitchell H Hooke CEO Minerals Council of Australia 

When: 6.30 to 7.30pm, Wednesday 19 September, registration and refreshments from 6pm

Where: Foyer, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus. See map and directions 

Cost: Free, registration is essential

Contact: 02 9351 0323 or

Book now online 

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