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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3236


Senator CAROL BROWN (3:17 PM) —The Rudd Labor government has announced the implementation of the resource super profits tax, the RSPT, to ensure that we get a fair share from our non-renewable national resources. During the mining boom as mining profits have increased we have seen the share of profits returned to the Australian people decrease. Before the last mining boom, Australians received $1 in every $3 of mining profits through royalties and charges. However, now that return has shrunk to $1 in every $7. In fact, profits were over $80 billion higher in 2008-09 than in 1999-2000 but governments only collected an additional $9 billion in revenue. We need to deliver a fair share of these resource profits for the Australian people, because a fair share will mean higher retirement savings, more roads, rail and ports and less company tax, especially for small business.

Between the mining industry and those opposite we have seen plenty of extraordinary claims during this intensive scare campaign. Whilst there has been plenty of mud-slinging from those opposite on behalf of their mining friends, the fact remains—which has been highlighted by a number of ministers, including the Treasurer and the Prime Minister—that these minerals belong to Australia and Australians. They are owned by Australians and we need to make sure that Australians get a fairer share of resource profits. These are non-renewable resources and we need to ensure that Australia capitalises on the next resources boom. The government is currently consulting with the mining industry on the RSPT and will continue to do so. The Rudd Labor government is committed to investing the RSPT in infrastructure, in superannuation and in reducing company tax.

Unlike those opposite, we do not want to squander the benefits from a resources boom; we want to invest for the future for all Australians. This is in stark contrast to the opposition, who wasted the previous resources boom on handouts and playing short-term populist politics. We will ensure that we take advantage of the revenue generated from the resource super profits tax to help generate more superannuation savings for working families, lower tax for all companies, especially small businesses, and invest in our future infrastructure needs, particularly for mining states.

We will not make the same mistakes as those opposite, who for over a decade rode high on the mining boom but failed to get value for resources owned by the Australian people. While they were busy riding on this boom time they failed to invest in vital infrastructure and productivity needed to help drive the Australian economy forward into the future. As part of our tax plan for the future, the extra revenue gained from the resource tax will help to deliver a resource state infrastructure fund which will make infrastructure spending a part of Commonwealth and state budgets. The fund will be an investment of $6 billion over the next decade, particularly for mining states to build the infrastructure they need for the future. The Prime Minister has highlighted that the recently announced $400 million of funds will allow projects that address infrastructure needs to proceed immediately rather than having to wait for the revenue generated from the RSPT to flow through. The infrastructure funds generated from the RSPT will be directed towards supporting infrastructure and the communities in mining areas. This will mean that vital infrastructure projects in rail, roads and ports will go where they are needed most.

As part of our tax reform measures, the tax plan for the future will help all sectors of the economy grow together so that everyone can share in the prosperity of our strong economy. By reducing company tax, we will create new jobs and grow the Australian economy. It will ultimately be of benefit to all Australians. But we are not just implementing the RSPT as part of our tax plan for the future; we are also committing to gradually increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent. As well, around 3.5 million lower paid Australians will receive a concession on their superannuation guarantee for the first time. We will deliver a cut in company tax, reducing the rate to 28 per cent, to help Australian businesses remain competitive. Small businesses will reap the benefits as well. (Time expired)