It's timely to remember that when the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance sits today, it is the Greens policy to phase out the coal industry while simultaneously also asking the sector to pay more taxes.

The Greens can't have it both ways.

It is rare, even for the Greens party, to promote policy propositions that are so grievously contradictory.

The reality is that the coal industry makes a significant contribution to Federal and State governments every year in the form of taxes, royalties and charges, including company tax, payroll tax, fringe benefits tax, land taxes and charges for transport and port services.

Since 2006-7, the coal industry has contributed more than $17 billion in corporate tax. 

Combined black coal royalties for Queensland and New South Wales are estimated to be $3.1 billion in 2013-14 alone. Over the next four financial years, a further $18.1 billion is expected to be paid.

These royalties flow back into the community in the form of state funding for hospitals, schools and roads.

Analysis by Professor Sinclair Davidson at RMIT has demonstrated that the Federal Budget would take a $6 billion hit in a single year if the coal industry was 'phased out'.

The bottom line is that Australia's minerals sector makes a critical contribution to federal and state revenue. Deloitte Access Economics estimates the sector's total contribution from taxes and royalties to be $156 billion over the decade to 2013-14.

The Greens need to scrap their policy to shut down the coal industry and recognise the benefits that the coal sector brings to all Australians.  Critically, the Greens need to understand that coal will continue to play a critical part in Australia's – and the worlds - energy mix for many years to come.





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Jonathan Hawkes
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