Friday, 22 February 2013 14:14
Australian Greens leader Christine Milne says the federal government's Gonski education reforms should be fast-tracked and the necessary funding drawn from a redesigned mining tax.
Senator Milne believes three simple changes to the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) could raise an additional $26 billion in revenue over the next four years.
The Greens already have a bill before parliament to address a state mining royalties loophole, which currently requires the Commonwealth to compensate miners for increases in royalties levied by state governments.
Senator Milne also said the minor party would address "ridiculously generous" depreciation rules that allowed the big mining companies to pay little or no mining tax at all.
"Rio Tinto, while posting an overall loss from poor management decisions, still made over $9 billion from Australia's iron ore," she told the Australian Education Union national conference in Melbourne on Friday.
"But because they got to write their (mining) tax laws, they didn't have to pay anything."
Under the MRRT, a 30 per cent levy is charged on the super profits of coal and iron ore producers.
Turning to the Gonski review on schools funding, which could cost the federal, state and territory governments a combined $6.5 billion a year, Senator Milne demanded the Labor government get on with it.
"The Greens want the full Gonski fast tracked," she said.
"With the government failing to fix the mining tax, we are worried that there will not be enough money to fund the full implementation of Gonski.
"Indeed there are likely to be other programs with long delays due to the resistance of the government to raise more revenue."
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