Tuesday, 12th February 2013

A BLACK HOLE IN THE BUDGET

The changes that Gillard and Swan made to Rudd's original mining tax to make it more palatable to the big miners – and quiet their public criticism – are the reason it is being roundly condemned today. The amount collected by the federal government's new tax was near zero as a result of concessions made by Gillard and Swan. 

In a slightly perverse outcome, it is state governments that have made off like bandits as a result of the new mining tax.  When the MRRT was introduced, state governments realised they could essentially pinch the new revenues as a result of the loophole that allowed miners to deduct all state royalties from their MRRT liabilities. States promptly raised state royalties. So several billion in extra revenue has been collected from mining companies since the introduction of tax - it's just been going to state governments. Hence the frustration of federal MPs of all persuasions. The upcoming GST division negotiations will be interesting.

In other mining news, Environment Minister Tony Burke approved several new coal and CSG mining projects in NSW yesterday. The approvals are conditional on some environmental provisions being met, though none of these relate to the carbon footprint of the new ventures, estimated to equal 8% of Australia's total emissions.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Labor Stews Over Fix For Mining Tax

“The federal government is considering plugging the royalties hole in its mining tax but will leave any changes until close to, or after, the election to avoid triggering another damaging campaign by the mining industry.”

Burke Approves Huge Gas And Coal Plans

“A clutch of big coal and coal seam gas projects, including the controversial Whitehaven mine near Narrabri in NSW, have been approved by the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke. He signed conditional approvals for Whitehaven's Maules Creek mine, planned for the Leard State Forest, Idemitsu's neighbouring Boggabri coalmine expansion, and a coal seam gas development planned by AGL for Gloucester in NSW.”

Laughing All The Way To ICAC: The Star Witness

“Decisions made by disgraced former mining minister Ian Macdonald stand to enrich the family of his former colleague Eddie Obeid somewhere between $75 million and $175 million, a corruption inquiry has heard.”

Labor Is Doomed And There's Nothing It Can Do About It

“It becomes a matter of simple arithmetic: Labor's standing in New South Wales is already abysmal and it will certainly not improve as the hearing continues. And there will be no respite: Commissioner David Ipp has said that he plans to release his findings at the end of July, just a couple of weeks before the formal election campaign gets under way. So the ALP can anticipate a landslide against it of catastrophic proportions.”

Cartoons

David Pope on the election as a ‘fixed match’ (Sydney Morning Herald)

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David Rowe on Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald (Australian Financial Review)

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