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Better mining tax would clean up government’s mess

While the Liberals have printed a booklet bemoaning a phoney budget emergency, the Australian Greens have a costed policy to avoid harsh budget cuts.

New analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Office using updated commodity data shows $35 billion could be raised by restoring the mining tax to its original intent and taxing mining super-profits.

"This opportunity to get a fair share from the big mining corporations makes a joke of Tony Abbott's attempt to justify harsh budget cuts," said Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne.

"When Tony Abbott says ‘everyone is in this together', he isn't including the big end of town. Mr Abbott is letting the big mining corporations who are making multi-billion dollar profits off the hook.

"Instead of destroying universal healthcare and bringing in a new deficit tax - instead of making life harder for families, the aged, the young and unemployed - the Abbott government should simply levy an effective tax on big miners."

Recent figures showed three big mining companies have reaped more than US$14 billion in profit from iron ore operations in Western Australia, but the existing Minerals Resource Rent Tax has failed to return a fair share of those profits to communities.

"This new independent costing shows that the mining super profits tax would be even more effective now than when it was originally proposed, raising $35 billion, up from $20 billion, over four years.

"Tony Abbott has not got his back to the wall in a budget emergency created by the former government - he's choosing to put the burden on communities," said Senator Milne.

"The Abbott government is deliberately ignoring huge sources of potential revenue and actively making the problem worse by seeking to repeal the price on pollution and totally get rid of any form of mining tax.

"Fixing the mining tax is a big opportunity that voters will favour over the harsh cuts that are expected in next week's budget.

"Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey do have a choice, and they're choosing to hurt ordinary Australians while protecting their big-business mates."

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