Rudd should revamp mining tax | The Jackal

29 Jun 2013

Rudd should revamp mining tax

In my opinion, one of the main issues that should be highlighted concerning Kevin Rudd ousting Julia Gillard is the controversial mining tax. What many commentators seem to be missing is that after Gillard initially rolled Rudd back in June 2010, the mining tax that he helped devise was watered down and is now ineffective.

Large mining companies were let off the hook by Julia Gillard, and in May this year it was announced that they were expected to pay only $200 million of the $3.7 billion the government had previously projected...although listening to the industries howls of protest you wouldn't know it.

With Rudd regaining the leadership role, they've once again started their vociferous outrage at the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT), and any potential changes to fix it.

Yesterday, The Australian reported:

THE resources industry has warned Kevin Rudd not to tamper with the mining tax, calling instead for a new compact that will secure the productivity gains needed to offset collapsing commodity prices.

It was Mr Rudd who warned the miners ahead of his 2010 dumping as prime minister that the Labor Party had a "very long memory", raising concerns that payback with a tougher and extended resources tax could be in the offing.

One industry veteran, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Australian the leadership change came at the "worst possible time for the industry". "However bad the Gillard government has been, Rudd's return only further destabilises the business outlook until an election is held," the senior mining executive said.

There has been a substantial and well-funded campaign against Labor because of that tax, which effectively caused Rudd's downfall. In many ways the policy change after Gillard gained power was badly handled, and along with a huge amount of industry propaganda, Labor has thus far lost the public debate.

Whether Rudd moves to amend the policy to ensure large mining companies in Australia pay their fair share is yet to be seen, but be aware that he has made a number of statements to this effect and has a rather large bone to pick. Also be aware the claims that Labor will lose the next election are presumptuous, with polling being at similar levels to the last election that Labor won.

Lets hope the rise of the Australian Greens helps shift Labor onto a more sustainable path, and that Rudd doesn't backtrack on making the changes required to ensure the mining industry contributes appropriately to the Australian economy, because as the graph below clearly shows, they presently aren't.