Bloomberg News

Australia’s Gillard to Introduce Mining Tax Laws This Week

November 01, 2011

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her government will introduce mining tax legislation to parliament this week that matches an agreement she made with the industry last year.

The 30 percent tax on profit from coal and iron ore will affect companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group and is forecast to raise A$11.1 billion ($11.7 billion) in its first three years from July 2012, according to the government. It will be used to lower the corporate tax rate to 29 percent from 30 percent, encourage retirement savings and pay for roads and railways.

The tax will ensure a “better dividend for the Australian people from the mineral wealth in our ground and we’ll be using that to bolster economic growth in other sections of the economy,” Gillard said in an Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio interview today.

Tony Windsor, an independent lawmaker whose vote Gillard’s minority government needs to ensure the legislation is passed, signaled he would only support the bill if stricter rules are introduced on coal-seam gas projects, according to the Australian Financial Review.

People are “very concerned” about such projects and “the companies themselves will say they don’t really understand the science of what happens underneath” the ground, Windsor said in an interview with Sky television today.

Gillard said while management of land and resources is predominantly a state government responsibility, “of course we’ll discuss Tony Windsor’s concerns with him.”

Windsor wants as much as A$400 million a year set aside from the revenue to fund “bio-regional assessments” to gauge the impact of coal-seam gas and other mining practices on aquifers, flood plains and farm land, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today.

--Editors: Edward Johnson, Malcolm Scott

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at jgreber@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net


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