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Senator Evans admits budget estimates are rubbery



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THE SENATE

SENATOR PETER DURACK, Q C DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

PRESS RELEASE in t h e s e n a t e

SH A D O W MINISTER FOR RESOURCES

- A N D ENERGY

. 34/85

SENATOR EVANS ADMITS BUDGET ESTIMATES ARE RUBBERY

"A Senior Cabinet Minister admitted that the final deficit will be significantly different from that forecast in the Budget," the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the S e n a t e , Senator Peter Durack, said today.

"Senator Gareth Evans told the Senate Estimates Committee last night that the $50 million estimated to be raised from new taxes on off-shore petroleum exploration was 'purely notional'.

"Senator Evans indicated that the estimate was based on figures done for Cash Bonus Bidding which was rejected by the Senate earlier this y e a r .

"This clearly demonstrates that the prime motivation for the new measures is revenue - no matter how it is to be raised and at

what cost to oil exploration.

"Senator Evans also confirmed that the new taxes are to be

deductible under company tax and the proposed Resources Rent Tax - which is yet to be proclaimed and may not be introduced until next year 1

"Senator Evans was unclear whether the $50 million estimate took into account these tax deductions. Given that the Government is yet to formally agree to the necessary amendments we can only assume it does not. This further highlights the rubbery nature

of the estimates (and places Senator Evans out on a limb).

The oil exploration industry is extremely concerned about the delay and uncertainty associated with the Resources Rent Tax legislation.

At a time when off-shore oil exploration is declining as a result of increasing uncertainty the Government should assist oil exploration not increase pessimism by introducing new taxes.

The Coalition would not introduce any special taxes in the resources sector and is committed to lower levels of taxation in the industry but recognise this will take time and matching expenditure restraint.

CANBERRA 18 SEPTEMBER 1985 CONTACT: ROB HADLER (062) 72 7088/72 7145.