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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3271

Mining Tax

Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Groom) (14:36): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer that revenue from the mining tax has collapsed by 95 per cent, causing forecasts to be revised down in this budget from $22.5 billion to $3.3 billion. How can the forecast for a surplus in the future be believed when it relies entirely on the mining tax revenue increasing by more than 10 times the level this year.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:37): I am delighted to answer that question, because we on this side of the House are very big supporters of resource rent taxation. Indeed the PRRT, which was opposed by those opposite, has worked over time and raised something like $28 billion. It is true that the introduction of the MRRT has coincided with the biggest fall in the terms of trade that we have seen in years—17 per cent—and that commodity prices did crash, so it is not surprising that when you have a super profits tax little tax is paid when there are no super profits. That is just common sense.

But I was asked about the forward estimates. I do not know where he got his from, but over the forward estimates it is estimated that it will raise $5.5 billion. That is what is estimated at the moment and, if you go through, it does move up as a result of improving conditions over the forward estimates. But it is not a surprise that at the moment, because of what occurred with commodity prices and our terms of trade at the end of last year, revenue should be substantially down now. That is what happens when you have a super profits tax. If the super profits are not there then they do not pay the tax.

Those over there do not want any money from the MRRT because they are in the pockets of some very big mining companies. But the truth is that $5.5 billion is not to be sneezed at at all and the claim the member made about a proportion of the surplus in 2016-17 is just plain wrong.