08/02/2013 - 11:05

MRRT under fire after raising just $126m

08/02/2013 - 11:05


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MRRT under fire after raising just $126m

Premier Colin Barnett has described the federal government's mining tax as a flop, after Treasurer Wayne Swan revealed today the impost raised just $126 million in its first six months of operation. 

The minerals resource rent tax was forecast to raise $2 billion over the entire 2012/13 financial year.

"It's clear revenues from resource rent taxes have taken a massive hit from the impact of continued global instability, commodity price volatility and a high dollar," Mr Swan said in a statement.

"Revenues across the board are down very substantially - MRRT is a profits-based tax that raises more revenue when profits are higher and less when they are lower.

Mr Barnett told reporters today that $126 million in six months was "nowhere near" $4 billion a year.

"This tax is a flop in terms of raising revenue, it's a very poorly designed tax in so many ways, and while it may not be raising that much in revenue it's having a damaging effect on the mining industry because its discouraging investment and therefore threatening future jobs," the premier said.

"Other sectors like gold, rare earths, diamonds, or whatever else, fear that they may be subject to this mineral resources rent tax in the future."

"It's a bad policy and it should be dumped." 

This week, opposition and Greens senators voted to force Australian Taxation Commissioner Chris Jordan to reveal the amount of revenue raised.

The government had repeatedly argued, based on tax office advice, that releasing the information would be a breach of tax privacy laws.

Mr Swan said: "The government has always supported increased transparency in our tax system and we believe any revenue from the MRRT should be published - which is why I am making this information public after it was received earlier today."

In a note to the treasurer, Mr Jordan said after receiving two quarters of revenue instalments, he had formed the view the disclosure would not breach privacy laws.

He took into account a range of factors, including the fact that the second instalment was substantially larger than the first.

Mr Jordan also considered the total number of MRRT payers, the degree of uncertainty with which such information could be used to deduce what a particular payer had paid as well as advice from the Australian Government Solicitor.

In terms of the MRRT, he noted it was a profits-based tax that raised more revenue when profits were higher and less when they were lower.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury is leading the government's work to broaden transparency in the business tax system, including MRRT revenue, and remove any ambiguity from reporting requirements.



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