Mining tycoon Gina Rinehart says non-violent prisoners should be able to pay their way out of jail.
Reclusive mining tycoon and Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, has said non-violent prisoners should be allowed to pay their way out of jail, and that politicians should sell all taxpayer-funded art and decor.
In an article published on Australian Resources and Investment magazine, Ms Rinehart says Australia should follow the lead of US state Texas and look for ways to reduce the number of people imprisoned at taxpayers' expense.
"Let them pay to get out of prison or not enter prison (a new source of revenue), and let them be part of the tax-paying workforce," she writes.
Ms Rinehart feels Australia would benefit from the move seeing as it needs "more workers and taxpayers".
Related: Gina Rinehart, the woman behind the billions
She says increasing health costs due and an ageing population is the main reason why this move will help.
"And before the left media shrieks that this would only benefit the richer, non-violent prisoners, for those non-violent prisoners who couldn't pay sufficiently to get out of prison, there could be other means, such as should they agree to give up their votes, and or passports for x years, depending on the seriousness of the respective non-violent crime, they could then leave prison and rejoin the workforce," she writes.
Do you agree with Ms Rinehart? Scroll down to watch another of her explosive videos and share your opinion
Ms Rinehart claims she has always been the target of attacks from “left-wing media circles” but common Australians are thankful to her.
"…the more the left attack me, the more I'm having fellow Aussies come up to me and thank me for speaking out, and asking me to continue; and the more invitations I get to speak to clubs, forums and other organisations in Australia and elsewhere."
Blast from the past
This is not the first time the tycoon has hit out at the government. In a speech delivered in May, Ms Rinehart said the government should stop using the miners as ATMs. [Watch the video below]
"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 in a video recorded for the conference.
"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."
"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".
In a call to arms, Ms Rinehart described Australia's economy as "too expensive and cost uncompetitive", saying government red tape and regulations are damaging the nation's reputation on the world stage.
Ms Rinehart cited Woodside Petroleum's recent decision to shelve its $40 billion gas project at James Price Point in Western Australia, and comments from the former global head of Ford, Jac Nasser, who predicted the eventual demise of the Australian car industry, as evidence that Australia was becoming am unattractive place to do business.
“No wonder major projects like Browse have been cancelled. This should make us all sit up and think," she said.
Last year, Ms Rinehart used a rare video appearance to repeat her warning that Australians needed to work harder to "compete with Africans who will labour for less than $2 a day".