Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Minerals Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Amendment Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — General) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2011, Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2011, Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading
I rise to speak on the Minerals Resource Rent Tax 2011 and related bills. The deliberately leaked ALP polling that is purportedly telling us that the Australian public is in favour of the government's minerals resource rent tax may well reflect the case. That may be what the public thinks, but just because the public thinks it does not meant that it is a good or an equitable tax. In fact, I think they have been sold some loose information about attacking the big miners and getting their share of the pie, without being given the full facts that underpin the legislation, which favours three players—as against the rest of the mining community—iron ore, coal and the petrochemical industry.
It is a fundamentally badly designed tax that is riddled with inconsistency. The fact is that it taxes only iron, coal and hydrocarbons. Roxby Downs used to be the biggest open-cut mine in the world—a fabulous project, I must say. It will take four years of digging before BHP actually get down to the ore body. It will take four years, using 110 350-tonne dump trucks, 24 hours a day, to get down to the ore body. It is a mine that will last at least 80 years; and, when they do get to the bottom, there is a lot more ore underneath that as well. What a project! But amazingly, it will not pay the minerals resource rent tax. There will be an enormous amount of infrastructure required in the cities of the Upper Spencer Gulf to enable this project. But the government will have to take money from other mining operations interstate and put it back into South Australia, because they have elected to choose just two or three commodities in Australia to tax. That is what I mean about inconsistency.