Martin Ferguson: don’t hang on to mining booms – by Annabel Hepworth (The Australian – May 23, 2016)

Former resources minister Martin Ferguson has urged governments to prepare in advance for troughs in the mining cycle, warning that too many “hang on too long” during the transition from old to new economies.

Amid renewed warnings about risks to Australia’s economic outlook, Mr Ferguson — who now chairs Tourism Accommodation Australia — also said he wanted to see the backpacker tax withdrawn or changed after the election and warned there was “still a gap between talk and action” towards the fast-growing tourism industry.

“The biggest issue with transition from old to new economies is that governments — of all persuasions — hang on too long before the inevitable decline,” Mr Ferguson said. “That could definitely be said about Western Australia, also Queensland and, now, the Northern Territory needs to be conscious of their economic future post projects such as INPEX.

“You can’t blame businesses making the most out of prevailing opportunities, but any student of the mining sector knows that it is cyclical, so governments need to be preparing in advance for filling out the troughs in the business cycle,” Mr Ferguson added.

The comments come as economists say that more job cuts are likely in “old economy” sectors such as resources, which have already seen a slew of cuts in recent years amid volatile commodity prices.

For the rest of this article, click here: