Media Release

Swan still playing for time on MRRT

The Treasurer's comments today that he would like to release MRRT revenue detail are breathtaking in their insincerity.

Wayne Swan is taking Labor spin to a whole new universe.

He has spent the past two and a half years desperately keeping all the MRRT revenue detail secret.

He is still playing for time now desperately trying to avoid revealing how much his failed MRRT has raised.

If he was really keen to release the MRRT revenue detail he could have long done it.

The Treasurer has a history of secrecy and cover up when it comes to his failed MRRT.

That's because he is embarrassed about the costly consequences of his MRRT for the budget and for our economy.

For two years before the MRRT came into effect he refused to release the assumptions he used for his MRRT revenue estimates, such as commodity price and production volume assumptions.

That's despite relevant State governments transparently publishing that sort of information as a matter of course in their budget papers.

When under pressure in the Senate to provide that same detail before the MRRT would be considered, he and the Prime Minister promised monthly MRRT revenue collection updates to get the Greens off their back only to break that promise too.

And commodity price volatility is not the only reason why the Gillard/Swan MRRT is a failure, not having raised any meaningful revenue so far.

The growing value of royalty credits and the depreciation provisions in the MRRT Heads of Agreement give significant shelter from the MRRT, particularly to the three biggest miners who drafted it.

Right now across Australia miners are accumulating more than $8 billion in royalty credits for state royalties paid on iron ore or coal just this financial year.

As per the MRRT Heads of Agreement, those royalty credits will eventually be offset against any MRRT liability if and when it occurs.

In fact any unclaimed royalty credits are not only accumulating, but also attracting more than 10 per cent compound interest until such time that they are finally offset against any MRRT.

Then, the bigger miners can depreciate the market value of their relevant assets at 2 May 2010 over a period of their choice up to 25 years.

That is another tax shelter worth more than $100 billion for the three biggest miners alone

Wayne Swan has made a mess of the budget and he's made a mess of the mining tax.

The reason he has not released the detail so far is because he's embarrassed about the absolute failure of the MRRT for which he is directly responsible.

The MRRT is a complex, distorting, badly designed tax which has undermined the capacity in particular of smaller and mid-sized miners to attract investment.

It should be scrapped so we can grow our economy more strongly again.