MINERALS RESOURCE RENT TAX

Full crediting of royalties is a key feature of the MRRT's design, one that ensures double taxation is avoided and that delivers a measure of stability and predictability to the overall tax burden on coal and iron ore projects, which are already at the upper end of global mining tax rates.

The December 2010 report of Policy Transition Group (PTG) headed by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and Don Argus recommended that the Government legislate full crediting of all current and future State and Territory royalties "so as to provide certainty about the overall tax impost on the coal and iron ore mining industries".

It is worth recalling Minister Martin Ferguson's words from 24 March 2011 specifically when he said "enough is enough" in relation to the constant changes to and speculation about increasing minerals taxation in Australia.

At a joint Press Conference with Treasurer Wayne Swan, Minister Ferguson said: "If you actually go to the body of the report, the Policy Transition Group sent a very clear message to both Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, enough is enough. The system we are locking in today is a fair and balanced outcome which guarantees Australia being attractive from an investment point of view but also says from both a Commonwealth and a state level we can live with this tax regime, don't over egg it in terms of trying to increase the rates of taxation that will now be put in place."

We agree with Minister Ferguson. Enough is enough in relation to the continued obsession with increasing taxes on mining in Australia. We should be looking at how we can be internationally competitive for investment and jobs for the benefit of Australians today and future generations rather than how we can keep carving up the pie.

A change to the crediting of all royalties would overturn the Australian Government's July 2010 agreement on the MRRT and its March 2011 decision to accept all recommendations of the PTG.

Even before the introduction of the MRRT, coal and iron ore were among the highest taxed industries in Australia based on the two main fiscal instruments used to collect mineral resource revenues – State and Territory royalties and Commonwealth company income tax.

The total minerals industry tax take from company tax and royalties over the period from 2001-02 to 2011-12 has been more than $124 billion. The industry's effective tax rate is in excess of 42 per cent against a global average of 39 per cent.

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