Tuesday, 12 February 2013 08:53
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott feels the Gillard government partly duped him about the design of its mining tax.
The MP, who backed Labor's minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) in the parliament, says the government told him that hiked state government royalties would not be offset against the MRRT.
The 30 per cent tax on the super profits on coal and iron ore miners so far has failed to meet government revenue estimates.
In the six months to the end of December the MRRT raised just $126 million against a full year forecast of $2 billion.
When asked whether he felt duped by the government, Mr Oakeshott told ABC Radio on Tuesday: "Partly ... yes a bit duped."
The MP said he had a letter from the government indicating its willingness to implement a recommendation from the Henry tax review to replace state mining royalties with a rent resource tax.
"They recognised royalties are unsustainable and a bad tax for Australia and a better way forward is with a national resource rent tax."
The government said it would look for ways to penalise and reduce the opportunity for royalties to be increased and offset against MRRT liabilities, Mr Oakeshott said.
The MP has seconded an Australian Greens bill that closes that loophole.
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says the government should show a "little bit of ticker" and be honest with the Australian people about any changes to its mining tax.
The government was playing games of "ducks and drakes, snakes and ladders" with the independents.
"It's insidious political stuff," he told reporters.
Mr Hockey said Labor minister Gary Gray on Monday said the mining tax did not need changes, but it was anyone's guess what Labor would do.
"Yesterday, Julia Gillard said it needs to be changed."
Yet the prime minister had signed an agreement with the three big miners to fully credit their state royalties, Mr Hockey said.
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