To combat a policy threat we gave gold back its shine
In 2012, the WA State Government announced it would be reviewing royalties paid on mineral commodities, especially gold.
After enduring several hard years of low prices and high costs, many gold producers knew their businesses couldn’t sustain an increased royalty rate.
The issue became more pressing when, in 2013, the WA Department of Treasury forecast significant extra revenue from royalties even though the committee tasked with undertaking the review hadn’t yet made any recommendations.
It appeared the Government’s mind was made up.
Cannings Purple knew gold producers had a good case to fight a royalty increase by presenting a unified argument based on hard facts, telling the stories of real people and engaging in person with politicians – if they worked together as one.
As a result, the Gold Royalty Response Group (GRRG) was formed to influence public policy decisions and protect the sustainability of the gold industry.
What followed was one of the most intense and sustained campaigns by an industry group to influence a government decision in WA’s history — the #HeartofGold campaign.
We gave gold back its shine. During the 10 months following the 2013 budget release, the GRRG mounted a sustained stakeholder, government and community engagement campaign, working to educate WA MPs on the difficulties facing the marginal gold sector and the inaccuracies of the methodology used to guide royalty rate settings.
The #HeartofGold campaign embraced a range of government and community engagement methods such as advertising in mainstream and digital media, targeted meetings with key politicians, briefings and participation in political party fundraising events, along with the use of social media to communicate with and influence MPs.
Our campaign reached 80% of Perth’s population and changed public perception about the gold industry.
Surveys found 64% of people reported changing the way they thought about the industry due to the campaign and 78% of people reported learning something new about gold mining.
In turn, the community rallied against the changes, which put pressure on MPs to respond. On 25 March 2015, the Barnett Government released the recommendations of the MRRA and at the same time ruled out an increase in the gold royalty rate in the 2015-16 financial year.
This decision was made despite the review committee’s recommendations to increase the royalty rate applied to gold by 50 per cent and remove a royalty free threshold on the first 2,500 ounces produced.
Stopped a 2015/16 royalty increase
Saved GRRG members tens of millions of dollars
20 million views
Coverage generated by an integrated conventional and social media campaign
490 media stories
Editorial value exceeded $1.5 million
#heartofgold campaign branding was distinctive and ubiquitous
A wide range of #heartofgold collateral was designed for the campaign
Just one of the newspaper advertisements that were created for the campaign
Posters were used to kick off the campaign by setting the tone.