Midnight vote passes mining tax

The Government has succeeded in passing the mining tax through the Lower House, with final voting on the bills finishing early this morning at 2.42am.

The vote was witnessed by only four onlookers, and unlike the carbon tax, there was no celebration.

Yesterday the Government secured the support of key independents Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie by agreeing to honour their individual demands.

Windsor won a move to spend a portion of the tax’s takings on coal seam gas studies, while Wilkie won an amendment to raise the tax’s threshold.

Following the agreements the Government made a last minute deal with the Greens, after they signalled they may withdraw their support because of the Government’s concessions.

But mystery surrounds the Greens deal, with both parties refusing to make public the details.

“The Government has good reasons for not wanting to reveal it,” Greens leader Bob Brown said.

Brown said the deal raised the tax’s revenue by $100 million over five years to plug a black hole in the package, but how the Government will raise the funds is unknown.

In a statement today Treasurer Wayne Swan said the tax would help ease the patchwork effect the mining boom was making on Australia’s economy.

“There’s no need for the success of one sector to come at the expense of another,” he said.

“The MRRT and PRRT will use the profits of the resources boom to strengthen our entire economy to the benefit of all Australians.”

In a statement issued late yesterday the NSW Minerals Council called on the Government to ensure infrastructure spending in the state was on par with other regions of Australia.

“[The Government] should ensure that mining communities in this state get their fair share of MRRT infrastructure funding too, regardless of any political disagreements with the state Government,” it said.

Deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop told ABC Radio because the Government refused to make public its MRRT modelling the mining tax was shrouded in secrecy.

 “We can’t say who is paying this tax,” she said.

Bishop also warned the legislation could set a standard for the Government taxing other profitable sectors of the economy.

Yesterday the federal Government’s battle with state Governments waged on, with Swan again threatening to cut infrastructure funding to WA and NSW.

Image: Business Standard

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