Australia's mining tax unlikely to rise: resources minister

16:14, September 14, 2010      

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Australian federal government has no intention of raising the mining tax to appease the Australian Greens, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said on Tuesday.

The Greens, who will gain the balance of power in the Senate from July 2011, want the tax rate raised to 40 percent from its revised level of 30 percent. But Ferguson said raising the tax rate would be inappropriate because that was not taken to the election.

"From the Greens' point of view, obviously they would like to make some changes but as far as we're concerned we've gone to an election with the proposal, there's an agreement," Ferguson told Sky News on Tuesday.

"We've got no intentions of extending it to other commodities or increasing the tax rate."

Ferguson said he would be willing to have one-on-one discussions with the Greens and independents about the mining tax.

"The outcome will be affected, potentially in legislation, so it is a public process," he said.

In July, Ferguson helped negotiate a deal with mining giants BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata to have the mineral resource rent tax (MRRT) confined to iron ore and coal.

Labor proposes to levy the tax on 320 companies instead of 2, 500 as intended under the former Kevin Rudd government's original proposal.

Before the election, the government set up a mining tax policy transition group, co-chaired by former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus and Ferguson.

Source: Xinhua


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