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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 962

Senator PARER —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. In his opening address to the Bureau of Mineral Resources Petroleum and Mineral Review Conference on 20 March, the Minister said he would:

. . . encourage the efficient development of Australia's resources in response to the demands of both domestic and international markets, but at the same time ensure there is a fair sharing of the benefits of this development.

Did the Minister mean that any new development of resources, if successful, would attract imposts over and above those applicable to other industries? If he did, what additional charges does he have in mind?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I had nothing more in mind in making that statement than has been the policy of successive governments, namely, to ensure that in resource developments an appropriate price is paid by the developers to reflect the interest that the community as a whole has in the depletion of natural resources. There are many different ways in which tax regimes are applied in order to ensure that the community gets an appropriate share of the economic rent. The tax regime favoured by this Government, and which we are seeking to put in place at least so far as new off-shore oil projects are concerned, is the tax regime in the nature of a resource rent tax based on profitability rather than production. There are other tax regimes in place as far as crude oil excise, petroleum excise and so on are concerned, plus the various mineral royalties which are primarily levied by the States. I was not seeking in any way to flag any new impost on the resources and energy industry, only to identify the kinds of objectives, which, among others, have been common to this Government and its predecessors.