Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview: Sydney: 24 October 2013: repeal of the MRRT



Download PDFDownload PDF

Hon. J.B. HOCKEY MP Treasurer

DOORSTOP SYDNEY 24 OCTOBER 2013

TREASURER:

Today the Coalition is releasing the Mining Tax [Repeal] Draft Legislation. It is now time for the Labor Party to listen to the Australian people. Yesterday the Labor Party was opposing the savings we do not have. Today the Labor Party is opposing the savings we do have. They cannot have it both ways. The mining tax is a signature policy failure of the Labor Party in Government. It was originally intended to raise $45 billion. It looks now that it is going to raise just over $4 billion. The problem is Labor committed to a whole lot of spending against a tax that does not raise money. This is about fixing the Budget bottom line. By introducing our package to be rid of the carbon tax and mining tax we are saving the Budget money. In particular, by getting rid of the mining tax package we are saving the Budget over $13 billion. I say to the Labor Party - you started the mess, do not stand in the way of us fixing it. It is not good enough to give us a lecture. Listen to the Australian people and accept that we have a clear mandate, an unequivocal mandate, to get rid of the Mining Tax and its associated expenditure. I just wanted to raise one further point. Mr Bowen is running around saying that somehow the Schoolkids Bonus is not linked to the Mining Tax. I refer him to the comments of the Minister for Finance in June of 2012 that directly linked the Schoolkids Bonus to the proceeds of the mining tax. Given there are no proceeds effectively, the Labor Party cannot stand in the way of us doing what we have to do to try and fix the Budget. Any questions?

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

Penny Wong, as Minister for Finance, directly linked the proceeds of the mining tax to the Schoolkids Bonus. They are her words. Quite frankly, Labor was dumping other spending initiatives associated with the mining tax and in its place said it had to redistribute the wealth, redistribute the proceeds of the mining boom. They said explicitly that part of that was the Schoolkids Bonus. You cannot keep paying a Schoolkids Bonus when it is funded by borrowed money. It is the Labor Party that made a signature mess of the mining tax. This will be engraved on the tombstone of the Rudd and Gillard Governments as a signature failure. How can they introduce a tax that does not raise any money, but link a massive amount of new expenditure against it, with a net result of not only is the Budget worse off but the pipeline of borrowings necessary to fund the extravagant waste of the mining tax is unsustainable.

JOURNALIST:

Is there, on another issue, any situation where the Government would link the Direct Action climate policy to a budget bill in order to get it passed?

TREASURER:

Of course any Government expenditure needs an appropriation bill. Direct Action involves appropriations.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible]

TREASURER:

We are working through it with the industry. It is important to keep in place long term initiatives that ensure that we do capture some of the resources of Australia. We have never apologised for that. The mining tax has been a very clumsily designed process. It is a straw building that never got built. From our perspective the PRRT has been part of the equation in relation to the tax framework offshore. It is not going to raise money for a long period of time if it applies onshore. If the red tape burden associated with it is so significant, then certainly we will get rid of it.

JOURNALIST:

Chris Bowen said today that unlike other taxes the mining tax will take time to bring money in. What is your response to that?

TREASURER:

I do not think anyone is going to be around for that long to wait for the mining tax to bring in real money. It was conceived in a storm. It was delivered in a storm. Frankly, it has been a disaster all the way.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

There is a profits based tax on resources, it is company tax. You have got company tax, you have got royalties, on top of that you have the MRRT which is a tax compliance nightmare. It raises hardly any money and it has a massive amount of expenditure booked against it. Nothing would surprise me about the Labor Party. They have started the fires and now they are trying to prevent us from putting them out. When it comes to the mining tax and fixing the Budget, the Labor Party has no set of principles, no morals. They should be ashamed. They should be hiding underneath the doona when it comes to the mining tax because it has been a signature failure of the Labor Party in Government. For crying out loud, it is now time to listen to the Australian people and let us get rid of the damn thing.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

The focus has to be on growth. We need to focus on growing the economy. Getting rid of things like the mining tax and the carbon tax will help to grow the Australian economy, there is no

argument about that. Particularly getting rid of the carbon tax has direct links to an improvement in economic growth. I would say to you that the best thing we can do to get the economy growing is to give consumers confidence, not only that they will hold their jobs, but that they can get even better jobs. Secondly, if they have got that confidence it will flow through to business confidence. A confident consumer is a confident business. That in turn will help to generate job security. You have got to get rid of the speed humps. Speed humps are excessive regulation, excessive taxation and ultimately poor, inconsistent Government. We are addressing all of those things.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

No. Because none of the billionaire miners are paying the mining tax. I would suggest that they will not for many years to come, even if it does stay in place. The people it affects most are the smaller mines - the competition to the big players. Frankly this is just another signature failure from Labor. I say to the Labor Party; do not stand in the way of us trying to fix your problems. The Australian people want us to fix Labor’s problems. Labor cannot try and govern from the political grave on the mining tax or the carbon tax.

[ENDS]