Opposition may support mining tax changes

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The federal opposition says it will consider supporting mining tax amendments if they work to lessen the impact of the tax on the mining industry.

Shadow minister for energy and resources Ian Macfarlane told ABC’s Insiders program yesterday the Opposition was trying to do what it could to water down the tax.

“You could expect that we will be in opposition for another 18 months to two years and this tax will operate during that period and may operate for a short period after we get into government,” he said.

“The less impact this tax can have on the mining industry between now and then the better.”

Macfarlane said he was prepared to look at supporting amendments to the tax if they “reduce the impact on mining and they reduce the hit on the sovereign risk profile of Australia”.

But according to The Sydney Morning Herald Opposition leader Tony Abbott would not be drawn on supporting any part of the mining tax.

“We will look at any amendments that appear in the Parliament, but we will be opposing the mining tax, including any amended mining tax,” he said.

The amendments focus on propositions by independent MP Andrew Wilkie to raise the $50 million profit threshold at which the mining tax applies.

The move is designed to further protect smaller companies from the tax.

The legislation is due to be voted on in Parliament this week, and the Government is still in negotiations to secure support from independent MPs.

According the The Australian Greens leader Bob Brown would not rule out supporting amendments if they were revenue neutral.

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