WA Chamber of Minerals chief executive Paul Everingham has never seen the community hold politicians in lower esteem, and the lack of trust has made it harder for business to get their messages across.
Speaking to WestBusiness yesterday as the Federal election campaign gathered steam, Mr Everingham noted business needed community support for its voice to be heard by government. Mistrust had made the task “a hell of a lot more complex and time-consuming”.
The former chief executive of the WA Liberals said if Labor won the Federal election he did not expect to see a repeat of the industrial strife that came after Kevin Rudd’s ascension.
“I have known and followed Bill Shorten for a long time,” he said. “My sense is that he clearly understands that it is business that drives jobs in this country.”
Mr Everingham said casual employment was a reality of the modern workforce that he wanted to continue but most of his members were trying to recruit more permanent employees.
He said the CME “absolutely” supported sustainable wage growth and he thought it would inject optimism into the economy.
“You can’t deny the economic statistics, since 2012 large parts of Australia have been in an income recession,” he said.
Mr Everingham said both sides of politics had pushed a needless complication of temporary skilled migration when the 457 visa was replaced last year.
“They both put up the white flag in a sense.” he said.
He said climate was certainly in the top one or two election issues and his members accepted they had to cut or offset their carbon emissions.
Mr Everingham said both parties understood that energy intensive export industries such as LNG needed to be competitive. The lobby group supported a local carbon offsets industry but wanted it to be sustainable, affordable and match the standards required for them to be traded internationally.
“We’ve got to be careful that it we don’t create something that’s a bubble,” he said.
He said business needed climate policy certainty and the Coalition had been unable to deliver that because of division between Liberals and Nationals, and between regional Queensland MPs and their metropolitan colleagues.
“Until that’s resolved, no I don’t think there is a solution,” he said.
The professional communicator said he did not understood why so many people were climate deniers.
“I don’t believe 4000 scientists sat in a room and came up with a conspiracy theory.”
Mr Everingham said be believed human ingenuity would find solutions and government had a role in making the action urgent.
“If there’s the immediacy then people will spend more money … to find a solution because the returns will be higher,” he said.
He thinks both battery and hydrogen-driven electric vehicles are coming and the combustion engine had a limited shelf life.
“Whatever the cars, our members are going to be producing the base metals that are required to make them,” he said.