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Australia’s mining industry incurred a tariff input penalty of $53 million in the 2019-20 financial year, despite receiving the least assistance, according to the latest Trade and Assistance Review.

The Review from the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission estimated the financial assistance provided to four sectors for the year to June 2020.

Those sectors were primary production, mining, manufacturing and services.

The gross assistance provided was around $13.7 billion. Taking away $1.5 billion for the effects of tariffs, the net assistance provided to industry was around $12.1 billion

Of the four sectors, mining was the least assisted sector relative to its size, receiving four per cent of the total assistance ($0.4 billion), despite accounting for 11 per cent of the value it adds to the economy.

Despite pandemic-related assistance being spent in the 2020-21 financial year, and therefore not represented in the latest review, Productivity Commission chair Michael Brennan said it was especially important to get these things right in times of crisis.

“A feature of the pandemic — more so than in past recessions — was the highly specific effect of restrictions on specific industries,” Brennan said.

“Well-targeted industry assistance measures have been a valuable part of the pandemic response.

“As always, the art is to maintain such measures long enough to help viable businesses through the crisis, without them becoming a permanent feature.”

The review highlighted how assistance in some sectors has disappeared while others have flourished.

“Over the six-year period covered by this review, budgetary assistance to the mining and manufacturing sectors has fallen by 18 and 16 per cent respectively,” the review stated.

“Meanwhile, assistance to the primary industry and services sectors has grown by 17 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.”

The review aligns with Deloitte Access Economics’ report from May 11, which was commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

That report estimated tax payments and royalties from the minerals sector reached $39.3 billion in 2019-20, with a record $24.1 billion in company tax representing a majority.

In May, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the figures were a positive finding.

“From the 2010-11 financial year to 2019-20, the minerals sector contributed a total of $238.8 billion in taxes and royalties to state, territory and federal governments,” he said.

“Their contribution helped place the national economy in a strong position leading into the COVID pandemic and is now leading the way to recovery.”