The Greens continue to call for greater taxes on the mining industry, but the head of the Tasmanian Mineral Council has slammed such notions as “absurd”.
The Greens Leader Christine Milne has asked the Parliamentary Budget Office to conduct costings for a tax of 40 per cent on all minerals with fixed state royalties and a change to depreciation.
“What the Parliamentary Budget Office has revealed, by fixing up mining tax we could deliver $35 billion to the budget over the forward estimate and that would go a very long way to addressing the issue of revenue,” Milne said in an interview with ABC’s Naomi Woodley.
“And so I'm challenging Tony Abbott, since you can get $35 billion from the big miners, why won't you go after them and not single parents and pensioners and expecting people to pay co-payments to go to the doctor?”
However, Tasmanian Minerals Council chief executive Terry Long said that the Greens proposition is ideological, and does not take into account that the mining industry already pays ordinary business taxes and resource royalties.
“I don’t think anyone’s seen the detail of what the Greens have in mind with a mining tax, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it would punitive, unrealistic, and would be punishing an industry that essentially carried Australia through the backwash of the GEC, and now has gone into more normal times where they’re in a position of costs being high, earnings being much lower than they were at the back of the GFC,” Long told the ABC.
“If you were to extract 35 billion dollars from the mining industry over the forward estimates, you would essentially crash the mining industry.
“The idea that you can be quite punitive towards an industry that is now in a more normalised position, and extract that sort of rent from it on essentially ideological grounds, is quite frankly absurd, but I think the greens in a fiscal sense deal in absurdity rather than reality.
“That idea is certainly wide of the mark, and you would see mine closures, mine downsizing, you would be adding an extraordinary burden on to the industry at a time when mines are doing it tough around the country.”