Miners, union ‘can live with’ Govt’s revamped resources tax

The Federal Government’s second attempt at a mining tax has received a warm reception across the region.Prime Minister Julia Gillard took a knife to the controversial resources super profits tax (RSPT), slashing the rate at which miners would be taxed by 10 per cent and christening the new deal the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT).The revised tax marks the end of the RSPT in its original form, which had been met with open hostility by the multinationals in control of the region’s mining operations.Mick Davis, chief executive of multinational Xstrata, which owns the Tahmoor Colliery, said he was looking forward to finalising the details of the tax after “constructive engagement” with the Government, while BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers expressed similar sentiments.BHP Billiton owns Illawarra Coal, which operates the Appin, West Cliff and Dendrobium mines.The miners’ union had come out strongly in support of the RSPT, but yesterday CFMEU mining and energy division vice-president Wayne McAndrew said the union could “live with” the new deal.”It still delivers 90 per cent of what the original proposal delivered – it will deliver small business tax breaks, it will deliver an increase in super, over a period of time, and most importantly for us, will deliver badly needed infrastructure in mining communities affected by the resource boom.”But business tax breaks only go half as far as originally proposed, to the disappointment of the Illawarra Business Chamber.Chamber Chief executive Greg Fisher said the pressure would be on the Government to reintroduce cuts to company tax once the budget returned to surplus in 2013.It is also unclear if a $6 billion infrastructure fund, mooted for Western Australia and Queensland under the RSPT, would be extended to NSW.Mr McAndrew said the CFMEU was prepared to return to the campaign trail to ensure the region had a fair share of the tax proceeds.”If there’s a need to continue to push hard for a fair share of this to go to infrastructure in mining communities, yes, we’ll continue to push that pretty hard,” he said.
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