Miners treated like ATMs: Rinehart

AAP, with a staff reporter

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart claims the resources sector is being used like an ATM machine and Australia's record debt is unsustainable. 

"What few seem to properly understand, even people in government, is that miners and other resources industries aren't just ATMS for everyone else to draw from without that money first having to be earned and, before that, giant investments are made," she said.

Ms Rinehart, Australia's richest person, maded the comments in a pre-recorded video speech to be delivered at the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Melbourne on Friday.

She hit out at the state of Australia's finances. 

"It is incredible that after the last six years of record commodity boom times, we now find the once lucky country in record debt, with the federal budget tipped to deliver yet another deficit, to further increase our record debt," she said. 

"This debt is simply unsustainable, especially when Australia now faces an increasing elderly population with increasing needs, and fewer workers to pay for it all. This lucky country has got to start thinking, and acting."

Ms Rinehart also criticises Australian governments for heavy spending and for being "cost uncompetitive".

"Too many of our governments seem to have had their thoughts clouded by six record years of revenue. They seemed to think the ATM would never empty, and never need refilling," she ssaid. 

"They seemed to think we could somehow afford to be increasingly cost uncompetitive and become deeper in debt."

She also warns Australia is heading the way of many European economies unless it takes action.

"It is as if Spain, Greece, Britain, Italy and Portugal had no warnings to give us about the similar path we are now taking," she said. 

"It is as if their struggles with unemployment, riots, increased crime, debt and a sheer lack of money for even essential services, had nothing to teach us."