Moore cagey on increases to mining royalties

Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore has claimed any changes to the State's mining royalties may be necessary in the wake of the Federal Government's Henry Tax Review.

Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore has claimed any changes to the State’s mining royalties may be necessary in the wake of the Federal Government’s Henry Tax Review.

Moore was addressing an assembly of gold mining industry representatives at the Paydirt Gold Conference in Perth earlier this week.

According to the Minister, the Henry Tax Review will probably recommend mining and petroleum royalties be scrapped in favour of a uniform national resource rent tax.

“This could result in a lower return to the state after reallocation by the Federal Government,” he said.

“We have already been short-changed by the new Commonwealth Grants Commission funding formula, which is set to plunder Western Australian royalties to prop up stalling eastern states economies.

“Premier Colin Barnett has categorically stated that WA will not give an inch on its sovereign ownership of resources and its rights to royalties from these.”

State Treasurer Troy Buswell will meet with Federal counterpart Wayne Swan later this month, to advocate fundamental changes to the Grants Commission process, Moore said.

“Royalties have already fallen significantly due to the global economic downturn and the appreciation of the Australian dollar and the Government is committed to fight any moves to further diminish our revenues,” he said.

The Minister acknowledged the speculation about increases to the royalties, but would confirm if there was any truth to the conjecture.

“Clearly I cannot discuss budgetary deliberations. However, I am aware that the vast majority of state royalties come from state agreement acts so that any increase in mining act royalties could further distort the system,” he said.

“I am of the view that some of the concessions contained in the state agreements have passed their use-by date and should be removed.

“We will see what negotiations reveal on this front in due course.”

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