Forrest accused of recycling mining tax claims

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The Federal Government and some political pundits have dismissed Andrew Forrest’s claims Kevin Rudd was on the verge of changing the mining tax before losing power.

Yesterday Forrest said before Rudd lost Prime Ministership he’d agreed to transform the resource super profits tax and the delivery of infrastructure in Australia.

Forrest claimed he’d hammered out a new policy with Rudd the night before the ex-PM was ousted, and when Gillard took power the plan was dead and the minerals resources rent tax, devised with the help of resources giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, was enacted instead.

"We didn’t realise then that BHP and Rio had gone behind out backs to do another deal," he said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan initially declined to comment on the allegations but later likened Forrest’s argument to Clive Palmer’s "conspiracy theories".

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also accused Forrest of talking "rehashed old nonsense".

Some observers have noted Forrest made the same mining tax claims in 2010 and issued a press release outlining the argument almost two years ago.

Some political analysts have accused Forrest of recycling the argument in an attempt to build the profile for his address to the National Press Club early next month.

According to AAP Gillard said Forrest’s claims were another attempt to avoid paying a fair share of tax.

"What I know is this, Andrew Forrest was claiming at one point that the Mineral Resources Rent Tax would break his business, Fortescue, and put them out of business," she said.

"And then he came clean a while later and said he actually didn’t pay any tax."

Last week accounts filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showed prominent mining tax critic Clive Palmer paid zero tax for his company Mineralogy.

Image: Brisbane Times

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