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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Mines tax not Greens fault

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Re the letter to the editor from Robin Harrison ‘Mining industry rules, OK?’ in Monday’s Echonetdaily.

According to the Financial Review reports at that time, in March 2012, the Greens supported the government’s mining tax, on a number of conditions. Those conditions included limiting tax cuts to big business and ensuring a revenue stream. They relied on government promises of over $100 million a year taxes flowing into the coffers; the Greens still wanted a higher tax take then but settled for guaranteed monthly revenue reviews by the government and leaving the way open to increase the tax take.

Senator Brown said that the reviews were a ‘start’ but what was needed was a ‘stronger review with the aim of increasing the tax take as soon as possible. This will be a priority for the Greens,’ he said. The opposition leader Tony Abbott steadfastly opposed any mining tax at all.

By mid 2012 it became clear to the Greens, after those reviews, that the tax needed changes to increase the intake. The Greens have been pressing for those changes ever since – over one year.

By April 2013, Professor Garnaut and John Quiggin agreed with the Greens that the mining tax had significant flaws during a Senate inquiry hearing into the tax.

They referred to the Gillard government’s generous depreciation provisions for Australia’s most established and profitable mines which allows these mining companies to pay very little tax. They also gave evidence that increasing the rate to 40 per cent and extending the tax to all minerals were logical improvements. The Greens have been pressing the government to fix these three flaws will raise an additional $26 billion over the forward estimates. This is the Greens policy is they are returned to having the balance of power in the Senate after these elections.

And what has Labor done about fixing the problems? They propose no changes to the mining tax. And the coalition? On 26 June 2013, according to Reuters, Tony Abbot said he will seriously consider fresh elections in both houses of parliament if the influential minority Australian Greens party blocks its plans to repeal the mining and carbon taxes.

Opposition resources spokesman Ian Macfarlane told a mining conference that day that the coming election would deliver a mandate on both issues. ‘That’s not to say that we will be gung-ho about it. But we won’t rule out the opportunity, under the Constitution, to go back to the people if we find that we are not being given the right to govern Australia.’

So, which party supports mining profits coming back to the Australian people? Certainly not the coalition – they are willing to hold another election if they cannot repeal the futile mining tax! Certainly not Labor, who are happy with the futile mining tax as it stands.

Don’t blame Bob Brown or Christine Milne for this – the blame lies fairly and squarely with the major parties who receive massive support and donations from the mining companies and unions. The Greens are the only party that supports mining profits coming back fairly and in full to the Australian people and not have the Australian PAYE and small business taxpayers bear the majority of our tax burden.

 

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