Australian PM defends resources tax in Perth

13:46, June 09, 2010      

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State Western Australia (WA) will get the lion's share of investment funds from the resources tax to build new roads, railways and ports and boost the state's economy, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Wednesday.

Rudd has flown into Perth, the capital city of WA, to sell his government's controversial Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT).

Rudd told 6PR Radio the tax reforms would strengthen WA's economy by cutting company tax and making tax breaks available for tens of thousands of small businesses, and provide revenue to build infrastructure.

On top of that it would provide extra superannuation for 700, 000 workers in WA, Rudd said.

The government aimed to set up a specific investment fund to build more roads, railways and ports in WA which would in turn boost mining and business.

"The infrastructure needs of this state are vast and on the existing tax base cannot be funded," Rudd said.

"We say the sector of the economy most able to share a greater part of the burden for funding our infrastructure needs for the future is in fact our most profitable mining companies."

Rudd said WA and the other major resource state Queensland would receive the lion's share of the Resources Super-Profit Tax infrastructure investment proceeds.

He said independent analysis for treasury indicated the tax changes would result in mining investment going up by four or five percent and employment going up by seven percent over time.

Rudd said he respected the mining industry's point of view and consultations would continue in the weeks ahead.

Mining company bosses have laid on a protest meeting to greet Rudd when he attends a press club luncheon later on Wednesday.

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest, head of Fortescue Metals Group will meet Rudd privately to discuss the controversial 40 percent tax on resources super profits. The government's controversial resource super profits tax was also likely to dominate discussions when Rudd attends a community cabinet meeting in suburban Como on Wednesday night.

Rudd has met with BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers in Sydney on Tuesday. A recent opinion poll suggested Labor party is in danger of losing seats in Western Australia because of the on-going tax debate.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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