State governments are reportedly giving mining companies huge amounts of money.
State governments are reportedly giving mining companies huge amounts of money. Kelly Butterworth

State governments pump $18b into mining

STATE governments have given almost $18 billion to the Australian resources industry, with Queensland spending the most at $9.5 billion over six years.

Western Australia's state government followed at second with $6.2 billion.

New South Wales, at third, spent $872 million on the industries.

The figures are part of the "Mining the Age of Entitlement" report from the Australian Institute.

The numbers are being disputed by the Queensland Resources Council - the industry's state lobby group - which describes the institute as a "sausage machine" pumping out criticism of fossil fuels.

Institute executive director Dr Richard Denniss said these were funds the states could have been spent on hospitals, schools and emergency services.

He said taxpayers would be shocked to know how much the governments were giving to resource industries.

"That billions of dollars have been poured into companies which for the most part are foreign-owned is even more alarming in light of the recent budget cuts to average Australians," Dr Denniss said.

"Each state provides millions of dollars' worth of assistance to the mining industry every year, with the big mining states of Queensland and Western Australia routinely spending over one billion dollars in assistance annually."

He said government funding for the resources sector was similar to the amount spent on disability services and hospitals.

QRC chief Michael Roche said while the Institute report focused on money going to the industry, it did not consider the funds returning to government.

The government would receive $15 billion in resources royalties in the next four years, not including the $38 million in wages, goods, services and communities the industry spent in the past 12 months.

"That direct spending action is calculated to have generated a total spending of $76 billion or one quarter of the state's economy," Mr Roche said.