The Federal Government is pushing ahead with axing the troubled mining tax, pressuring Labor to respect its mandate and pass the repeal legislation before Christmas.
Draft laws to abolish the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) have been released ahead of their expected introduction to parliament next month.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the Opposition should be “responsible” and allow the laws through the Senate.
“It is at their own peril that the Labor Party ignores the wishes of Australian voters and snubs their noses at good economic management for no other reason than to be obstructionist,” he said.
The Government says abolishing the MRRT will save the budget $13 billion by axing other measures it says it was meant to fund, including Labor’s Schoolkids Bonus and the small business instant asset write-off.
Labor’s Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen says shadow cabinet will discuss the laws, but he has accused the Government of “kicking” ordinary Australians.
“This is very concerning legislation indeed,” he said.
“We have a fundamental view in the Labor Party, that the minerals of Australia belong to all Australians and there’s an obligation on Government to ensure that wealth is spread right through Australia from the mining boom,” he said.
“And there’s an obligation to ensure support for Australian families, support for Australian small businesses, which this Government is kicking with this legislation.”
The Schoolkids Bonus is a $410 boost to family tax payments for primary school students, and $820 for families with children at high school.
The Greens are also opposed to dumping the tax, making it likely that the legislation will be blocked until the Senate changeover next July.
That would leave the laws in the hands of billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer, whose Palmer United Party has won three Senate spots and has recruited the Motoring Enthusiasts’ Ricky Muir to form a powerful voting bloc.
Greens leader Christine Milne says big business is controlling Government policy and “laughing all the way to the bank”.
Under the draft laws, the repeal would come into effect next July, the same time the new Senate would begin sitting.
But Mr Macfarlane is pushing for the current Senate to back down.
“We won’t concede that point until the Senate actually votes for or rejects the repealing of this legislation – and we will give them that opportunity,” he said.
The MRRT came into effect in July last year, collecting 22.5 per cent on the profits of iron ore and coal producers – which has so far come to billions of dollars less than first estimated.
The MRRT was the result of a compromise between the then-Gillard government and miners – who fought the introduction of its precursor, Kevin Rudd’s Resource Super Profits Tax.