Shorten returns fire on BHP

THE government has turned on the BHP Billiton chairman, Jac Nasser, suggesting he clean up his own backyard before blaming the workplace relations laws for the increase in industrial disputes in the mining sector.

The Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, said claims that killing Labor's Fair Work Act, which replaced WorkChoices, would boost productivity and economic growth was ''a conservative fantasy''.

''That is a lie and should be called for the lie it is,'' he said.

On Wednesday, Mr Nasser delivered a blistering attack on the government's industrial relations and taxation policies, saying they were fuelling investment uncertainty.

With the mining boom coming to an end as commodity prices moderated, Mr Nasser cited four factors making life difficult for miners in Australia: increased costs, increased taxes and royalties from state and federal governments, continuing global volatility and ''a much more difficult industrial relations environment''.


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