AMEC chief executive Simon Bennison said the organisation’s new campaign would comprise television, print and radio ads starting this week and running for at least the next three weeks.
Speaking at a press conference in Perth yesterday, Bennison said AMEC was taking a strategic approach to asking for change or getting the tax rescinded, or at the very least increasing community awareness of the effects.
He said the proposed MRRT was creating uncertainty across all sectors and AMEC believes the government should “start from scratch” on the issue of tax reform.
“It’s proven to be diabolically frustrating for companies with IPOs or who are trying to get projects off the ground.”
Atlas Iron managing director David Flanagan said the new tax created barriers for entry to the “big end” of the iron ore business.
“The concept that industry is satisfied with this agreement is wrong,” he said.
Flanagan added that Treasury may have forecast increases in the price of iron ore, but the spot price has fallen 30% in the past two months and Atlas is modelling a flat price moving forward.
Proteus Engineers director David Sutton spoke on behalf of the engineering industry saying the tax couldn’t have come at a worse time as business was starting to pick up again following the devastating effects of the global financial crisis.
“It flattened the energy our clients had for their projects,” he said.
CCI Queensland president David Goodwin said engineers in his state had seen a “tremendous” drop-off in work since the announcement of the proposed tax.
He said no new tax had ever stimulated jobs or growth and the organisation would launch its own ad campaign attacking the proposed MRRT.
The retail industry is also joining the fight with the United Retail Federation set to start its own campaign and the National Association of Retail Grocers Australia speaking out at the press conference today.
“This is the most unlevel playing field we’ve ever come across,” chairman John Cummings said.
Cummings, who also acts as president of the WA Independent Grocers Association,
described the tax as discriminatory and not in the spirit of free enterprise.
AMEC would not disclose how much money would be spent on the new advertising campaign and said it would be assessed on a week-by-week basis.
Arguably the MRRT’s most vocal critic, Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest, last week said he would contribute to AMEC’s campaign if called on.
AMEC met briefly with Resources Minister Martin Ferguson today to notify him of the new advertising campaign, ending the truce called between the government and miners when Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as prime minister a month ago.