Independents plan rival tax forum for “banned” reviews

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The independents that gave their support to the Gillard government are threatening to hold their own tax forum to discuss “banned” reforms to the carbon tax, minerals resource rent tax, and GST.

NSW independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor said their rival forum would operate alongside the official Government forum scheduled in October.

Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie has also expressed concerns about the current form of the mining tax.

Wilkie said he planned to meet with Julia Gillard to express concerns that smaller mining companies would be unfairly disadvantaged by the carbon tax, MRRT, and the abolition of the 6 cent per litre diesel credit.

The rival forum has the potential to undermine the Government’s tax agenda, and places further pressure on Canberra over the controversial carbon and mining taxes.

Writing in The Australian Financial Review today, treasurer Wayne Swan said the tax forum should be a chance to discuss “sensible and fair” reforms.

“One principle that all participants should keep in mind is that whatever steps we take must be affordable,” he said.

Swan is due to begin a new round of consultation with businesses over the MRRT soon.

He is facing rising pressure from the Greens and independents to make changes to the legislation, with the Greens lobbying for the tax to be stricter.

Earlier this week NSW announced a move to raise mining royalties, which is expected to wipe almost $1 billion from the Government’s expected $11 billion windfall.