Mining giants push demands on Rudd over resources super profits-tax

 

The statement concluded by stating that “at present, there is no formal acknowledgment from government that these key issues will be addressed”.

But while the government remains committed to a 40 per cent tax rate, the Prime Minister confirmed just hours after the meeting today that it might be prepared to budge on transitional arrangements that were “particular” to certain industries affected by the tax.

“On the different qualities and different circumstances of let’s call it `sections of the industry’ it’s quite plain that we will be considering with different parts of the industry their respective requests for transition arrangements which may be particular to their industry,” Mr Rudd said in a press conference held before question time.

“Whether we respond positively to that is a separate matter, but that is currently the negotiation process that Martin Ferguson is directly engaged in.” 

His comments came as Tony Abbott attacked the government for not considering more flexible tax rates for different parts of the resources sector as part of its consultation with the miners.

The Liberal leader is maintaining his opposition to the 40 per cent resources super-profits tax and criticism of the government for its lack of consultation with the miners before announcing its detailed proposal.

Mr Abbott said the consideration of a flexible tax for different minerals should have been addressed before the announcement on May 2 of the new tax.

“This is a good question and it’s one that the government should have thought about before it made its decision,” he said this morning.

“I mean, this is a government which decides first and thinks later. Again, it’s no way to run a country.

“And this idea that the Prime Minister is somehow going to demonstrate how tough he is by having a great big fight followed by a great big backflip is just crazy.”

Mr Abbott’s comments follow on from question time yesterday when Opposition MPs tried to target the government over the level of consultation it engaged in before pushing ahead with the tax.

Mr Rudd hit back in question time today, seeking to portray himself as a reformer pitted against an anti-reform Coalition.

 “This is a debate between those who support the reform and those who oppose reform,” he said. “Those who support reform believe a profits-based regime for the future is the right way to go.”
 
Mr Rudd sought to link the Coalition to the interests of mining magnates and billionaires like Clive Palmer, and to those who were opposed to change in the industry.
 
“The Leader of the Opposition stands alone with his new best friend, the pin-up boy of the Liberal and National Party, Clive Palmer.
 
“Mr Speaker, they (the opposition) will simply take a position in this debate which is subservient to the likes of Clive Palmer in pursuit of a sectional interest, in pursuit of an individual who bankrolls the Liberal National Party in Queensland.”
 
Earlier, spelling out his position on mining taxation reform, Mr Abbott said he thought the existing regime was “fine”.

“The better the mining industry does, the more tax it pays. It pays more tax through royalties when production goes up. It pays more tax through company tax when profits go up. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it should stay.”

The Rudd government is now negotiating “generous transition provisions” looking at different resource sectors in different ways.

Mr Ferguson said today the petroleum sector, minerals sector and low value resources sector, including sand and gravel, had argued against uniform transitional arrangements for the government’s proposed resources profits tax.

“They are each arguing that there is no one-size-fits-all model,” he told ABC Radio.

“What I am doing is actually taking on board the generous transitional arrangements that we indicated we’re prepared to think about and working them through with the Prime Minister and the Treasurer and treasury and actually thinking about what are the potential nature of those transitional arrangements.

“We’re not talking about different tax rates there will be headline rate of 40 per cent.”
 

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