Labor pressured to reveal mining tax revenue

The government is facing renewed pressure to reveal how much mining tax revenue it has raised since the tax came into effect.

Both the Greens and the Opposition will move to push the Tax Commissioner to release details of the revenue collected from the first two quarters of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.

The Clerk of the Senate has advised both the Coalition and the Greens that they are able to ask the Tax Commissioner to provide revenue information, The Age reported.

‘‘Our advice is that we can and that this has been done previously,’’ Senator Milne told ABC Radio.

However Finance Minister Penny Wong has said that on advice from the Taxation Office, specific details of the tax cannot be revealed due to privacy rules.

In 2010, the Government predicted the tax would raise $3.7 billion, a figure which was re-forecasted to $2 billion for the 2012-12 financial year.

As Australian Mining reported last week, despite a recent surge in the iron ore price, resources giants said they will escape paying the mining tax for the second quarter in a row.

The Australian reported BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, and Fortescue Metals Group would not be liable for mining tax payments by the mid-January deadline.

It was estimated that BHP and Rio alone would provide between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in MRRT payments in 2012-13.

The latest payments mean the minerals resource rent tax will have raised no money since taking effect on July 1 last year.

Australian Mining reported last year that doubts were being raised over the Gillard government’s expectations of the revenue it would collect from mining taxes paid by Australia’s three biggest resource companies.

Labor played down the lack of revenue raised last quarter.

"It was never projected to raise (revenue) in the early part … because these mining companies are making massive infrastructure investments, which are tax deductable," Mr Crean told the Nine Network.

Mr Crean said the surplus would "absolutely" be delivered as promised.

However, Milne argues voters are entitled to know how much the revenue the tax has raised.

“I think the reality check here is: if this mining tax had been raising billions of dollars that had been there to be able to spend on things, we would have known all about it in great detail,” she said.

“I think the only reason that it hasn't been released is because it hasn't raised any money and it really puts up a mirror to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer's claims that they're spreading the benefits of the boom.”

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