Mining tax revenue in Australia falls short again

May 6, 2013

According to a new forecast from Australia’s independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), mining will add just $800 million to government coffers in the current financial year, less than half of the amount predicted by the government last October, the Australian Associated Press reported.

The independent PBO also calculates that over the forward estimates to 2016/2017, the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) will raise just $7.2 billion - almost $5 billion less than government expectations.

The Australian Greens are using the new figures to renew their push for the mining tax to be expanded.

“It’s hard to believe that the government has been through all this pain with the mining tax and when push comes to shove so little is being raised,” Greens leader Christine Milne told ABC Radio.

The Greens asked the PBO to calculate how much could be raised from increasing the tax rate to 40 percent, plugging loopholes and including all minerals that make super profits, such as gold.

The office said these measures would raise $26.2 billion from the next financial year to 2016/2017.

The government had predicted in last year’s budget that the MRRT would bring in $3 billion in its first year of operation, that figure was later downgraded to $2 billion.

In the end, the tax raised just $126 million in its first six months of operation.

Senator Milne said the major parties should stop asking the community to brace for tough cuts, and instead stand up to big miners and make these changes.

“Yes we can expect them (the miners) to run a campaign but look how much they have pocketed and look how little they are paying,” she said.
Minerals Council of Australia chief Mitch Hooke wasn't surprised by the revised estimates, citing the high dollar and low commodity prices.
“As for the Greens’ position, well I’m getting a bit jack of this,” he told the ABC.

“You can’t get tax out of profits if the profits aren’t there.”

The Gillard government has also played down reports that federal Treasury is working with a downgraded growth forecast of 2.75 percent in its budget assumptions for 2012/2013 and 2013/2014.

This is lower than the three percent Treasury forecast in the October mid-year budget review.

Labor parliamentary secretary Andrew Leigh says he would be surprised if Treasury’s economic growth forecast for the May 14 budget has been finalized, with key data to be released this the week of May 6.



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