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When is a deal not a deal Prime Minister?

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Ian Macfarlane 

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources  Member for Groom 

When is a deal not a deal Prime Minister? 26/10/10

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s claim to understand the sanctity of a signed deal has a distinctly hollow ring to it, given she is still refusing to stand by an agreement about the way royalties are treated under the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT), Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane said.

Last night at the Australian Industry Group dinner Julia Gillard said:

‘I never thought I would hear a NSW Premier deny a deal is a deal and a signature means you agree.’

“Yet the Prime Minister is still performing a spectacular backflip of her own, by refusing to honour a pre-election deal struck with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata under the MRRT Heads of Agreement,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Prime Minister hasn’t explained why her Government’s decision to walk away from a signed agreement about the way royalties are treated is any less a deliberate act of welching than the actions of the NSW Premier which Ms Gillard claims have shocked her.”

The Heads of Agreement states:

‘All state and territory royalties will be creditable against the resources tax liability but not transferable or refundable.’

“Depending on who you listen to, the Gillard Government is either flat out refusing to take future state royalty increases into account - as Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has said, or is fobbing off the issue to the consultation panel, as Julia Gillard has said.

“Either way, the Gillard Government has refused to guarantee it will honour the Heads of Agreement with the three big mining companies.

“The Prime Minister must explain in full her understanding of the Heads of Agreement deal struck during the MRRT negotiations and explain why in this case it seems a deal is not a deal.”