Australia to Push for Mining Levy amid Tax Debate

Source: Bloomberg, Jacob Greber  (3/21/11)

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to press ahead with mining taxes."

Australia will host a forum in October for businesses, labor unions, community groups and universities to debate changes to the tax system as the government moves to gain parliamentary support for a proposed mining levy.

"In the years ahead we'll continue to face important decisions about how to maximize the opportunities" from the resources boom in Australia, Swan said yesterday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who failed to gain a majority in last year's general election, has vowed to press ahead with a tax on mining companies in Australia, the world's biggest exporter of coal and iron ore. She also signaled yesterday she may offer tax cuts to people on low incomes to offset proposed charges on carbon emissions.

Gillard's government needs public backing for its mining tax plan and a levy to fund rebuilding after floods and cyclones that battered the nation this year. The tax forum is backed by independent lawmakers, whose support the government needs to win parliamentary approval for changes to the system, Swan said in an e-mailed statement.

The two-day meeting in Canberra will start Oct. 4 and involve about 150 people, and address taxes on individuals, businesses and states.

The treasurer promised last year to hold the summit to look at broader changes to the tax system, including proposals from former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry.

The government would need to offer low-income households as much as AUD$600 a year in tax cuts or extra welfare payments to offset the cost of a carbon tax.

Gillard is under pressure on the issue from the opposition Liberal-National coalition, led by Tony Abbott, who has vowed to block the plan because it will raise household electricity bills.
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