Lobby group jumps in to stop mining tax

 A new anti-mining tax group, Eureka 2011, is calling on the Gillard Government to put the Mineral Resources Rent Tax on hold until it undergoes a more comprehensive review process.

The MRRT heads to parliament today.

Head of the group, Peter Ellery, said its ‘Stop the Mining Tax’ campaign was created to bring "a grass roots voice to the arguments against the tax currently being put forward by mining industry groups.

"It’s very easy for the Government to dismiss the arguments of the mining industry itself as being rooted in self interest," Ellery said.

"However, many Australians with no direct connection to mining believe this is the worst possible time to be putting a brake on the performance of the main driver of our economy, and it’s those people whose views we will be putting to Government."

He said the campaign would show public misgiving about the way in which the tax was put forward and "the fact that it appeared to be an opportunistic money grab rather than a part of the promised comprehensive review of the Australian taxation system".

However, recent polls by the Labor Government say that the majority of the public is for the mining tax, and feel that the upside of the boom is not being shared amongst the country.

Internal studies for the ALP by UMR Research report that 68 per cent of respondents believe average Australians are not benefiting from the boom.

Only 21 per cent of voters thought all Australians benefited.

In Australia’s biggest mining states, 73 per cent of Queenslanders and 67 per cent of Western Australians believed most people did not benefit.

And despite the tax being opposed by the Opposition, 67 per cent of Coalition voters agreed.

These figures were in line with 64 per cent of Labor and 72 per cent of Greens voters.

However, Eureka 2011 stated that "it’s a bad tax, cobbled together in haste and secrecy, which will be damaging to the mining sector, very difficult to administer and unlikely to meet Treasury’s optimistic revenue predictions.

"In the process it will hamper the growth of emerging iron ore and coal miners, drive investment capital offshore and throw a dark shadow over Australia’s sovereign risk reputation," Ellery said.

He went on to say that there was a lack of consultation with the mining industry.

"There are literally hundreds of Australian-owned mining companies who would claim references to ‘consultation’ are, at best, at variance with reality."


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