Governments need to ditch dangerous short-termism and think big picture when it comes to getting the best out of the mining sector, according to BHP's CEO.
BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie believes government education and investment policy is too short-sighted for the mining sector and the Australians who depend on it.
Mr Mackenzie told a business event in Melbourne that a short-term approach is especially dangerous in resources, with some mines having life spans that "stretch for decades, if not centuries".
"We must shift policy for education and life-long learning research and development and for long-term investment so as to address the concerns of those who feel left behind," Mr Mackenzie said on Tuesday.
The CEO of the world's largest mining company said short-termism was blunting the sector's capacity to lift people out of poverty and create a skilled workforce with future jobs to match.
Mr Mackenzie, who was paid $US4.55 million ($A5.68 million) in the last financial year, said he wanted to dispel the impression multi-national companies are the reason many Australians feel left behind.
"To correct it we have to regain our social licence, re-connect with our communities and focus even more on safety, culture, environment, productivity and integrity," he said.
"We have to double down on productivity so we can maximise value and returns and distribute the wealth we generate more fairly."