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Australia's revised mining tax to collect 60 bln USD less in revenue

02-16-2011 14:58 BJT

CANBERRA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- New figures on Wednesday revealed Australian Federal Government's revised mining tax will collect 60. 17 billion U.S. dollars less revenue over 10 years than the original proposed tax.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd proposed the 40 percent resources super profit tax (RSPT) last year, but the government watered down the tax to 30 percent after Julia Gillard took over from Rudd and agreed on a complex deal with mining firms.

Documents released by Treasury showed the original super profits tax would have made 99.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue over a decade.

This compares with the revised Minerals Resources Rent Tax ( MRRT), which is forecast to earn 38.6 billion U.S. dollars over the same period.

The Government said it has always been upfront that its revised mining tax will generate significantly less revenue than the original proposed tax.

Prime Minister Gillard refused to make any changes to Labor's planned mining tax after the release of the Treasury report.

"We will not be compromising that agreement to secure the legislation," she told Australia Associated Press (AAP) in Wellington during a visit to New Zealand on Wednesday.

The Australian Greens, whose votes Labor will need to pass the tax, are demanding the original 40 percent super profits tax be reinstated.

According to Greens Leader Bob Brown, the Government gave away billions to mining companies.

"It's very alarming. These figures show that the Federal Government is going to forgo 60.17 billion U.S. dollar in tax revenue with its new deal with the miners," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

The opposition Coalition on Wednesday also called for the MRRT to be scrapped, given its substantially lower take than the original RSPT.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan said the shortfall should not surprise anyone, because the government made clear the modified tax would raise significantly less money than the original proposal.

He said Treasury's 10-year projections were also subject to many variables, and should not be seen as a "holy writ".

"In the medium-term, we have the revenue to achieve the objectives that we've put in place for the MRRT," he told The Australian newspaper in Brisbane.

BHP Billiton, one of the three companies involved in negotiating a modified mining tax, on Wednesday posted a 72 percent rise to almost 10.6 billion U.S. dollars in first-half ( six months to the end of December last year) net profit.

Swan said BHP's announcement demonstrated why the government had fought hard for the tax, adding that the future of the resource industry is very strong, and that is why Australia does need a resource rent tax.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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