Australian mining tax law expected

13:31, November 23, 2010      

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Australia's minority government boosted its chances of implementing its proposed mining tax today, setting a legislative timetable aimed at ensuring the tax comes into effect in 2012, with the support of Greens senators.

Australia's minority government says draft tax laws on mining profits will not be ready until May next year.

The Treasury's announcement comes despite the end of formal negotiations between the government and miners on the controversial super-tax.

The mid-year date means the mining tax bill will not face a vote in the upper house Senate until at least August, when the government and Green senators will control the numbers to pass bills.

A vote on the legislation before July 1, 2011, would mean the government would run into trouble with a Senate filled with two unpredictable independents, and conservative opponents holding the largest voting bloc.

The Julia Gillard government estimates the new 30 percent mining tax will raise A$7.4 billion in its first two years, and help deliver a budget surplus in fiscal 2012-13.

But miners and the government disagree over who pays if state governments raise royalties.

Canberra says it cannot be exposed to open-ended cost increases.

And despite claims the tax design favours big miners, the government refuses to make changes to a deal reached in July with the top 3 miners, BHP, Rio and Xstrata.



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