Libs to keep part of the mining tax

The Federal Opposition plans to keep part of Labor's mining tax package in play, saying it will generate billions of dollars in the decades ahead.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey told The West Australian that the coalition would keep the Government's extension of the petroleum resource rent tax to onshore projects.

Until Labor’s introduction of the mining tax last year, the PRRT only extended to offshore oil and gas projects including the North-West Shelf and Bass Strait.

By extending it to incorporate onshore reserves, the PRRT will capture massive amounts of tax from the expanding coal seam gas sector in Queensland and NSW.

Treasurer Wayne Swan commented this morning saying the move would be a “staggering backflip” for the Opposition.

“They've adopted holus-bolus a substantial part of the MRRT package,” he said.

“It just shows a level of hypocrisy in the Liberal Party that is simply breathtaking.”

Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten added that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Hockey yesterday reiterated the coalition still intended abolishing the minerals resource rent tax and insisted the decision to keep the expanded PRRT would not come as a surprise to the mining industry.

"The coalition has been consistent in its message that our abolition of the MRRT will not automatically extend to the PRRT," he said yesterday.

"Those in the industry paying PRRT have been generally comfortable with this."

The coalition's change of heart is being partly driven by the revenue on offer from the emerging natural gas sector.

The PRRT on offshore oil and gas has netted the Government $1.4 billion so far this year.

The MRRT has collected just $126 million in its first 6 months, despite Labor’s initial forecast in 2010 of $3.7 billion, a figure which was re-forecasted to $2 billion for the 2012-13 financial year.

Buru Energy executive director Eric Streitberg said the coalition's move was disappointing and that he had hoped the coalition would mimic its policy of repealing the mining tax with the PRRT onshore extension.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.