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AUSTRALIA yesterday stood by its controversial proposed tax on the "super profits" of the resources industry, as it ramped up its war of words with mining companies fighting the new levy.
Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said the "core elements" of the new 40percent tax rate, set to kick in once a project's rate of return reaches about 6percent, would not change despite a concerted campaign by resources firms.
Tanner said the tax would help fund the lowering of company tax for all businesses and increase pension fund investment.
He was dismissive of claims from miners that the levy - set to be introduced in mid-2012 - would hurt investment.
Tanner's comments came as chief executive of global miner Rio Tinto, Tom Albanese, said the proposed tax was damaging Australian investment and would ensure that resources firms operating Down Under would pay the highest tax in the world.
He said his company would soon release independently verified figures to prove that it already paid its fair share of tax after the government claimed that multinational mining companies effectively only paid a tax rate of 13percent.
Albanese said the figure was closer to 35percent and would rise to above 50percent if the new tax was introduced as proposed.
He said Rio was reviewing all of its projects in Australia to see the implications of the new tax. - Sapa-AFP