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Australia uses 'emergency' powers to promote mining tax

Australia uses 'emergency' powers to promote mining tax

Australia used special emergency powers yesterday to approve taxpayer-funded adverts for its mining "super tax" to counter what it described as an "active campaign of misinformation" from resource firms.
Australia's government proposes updating the current royalties system with a 40 percent tax on profits over six percent in order to get a greater share of proceeds from an Asian-driven mining boom that is tipped to last decades.
Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig said he had approved an exemption for the government from national advertising guidelines that require campaigns costing more than 250,000 dollars (US$212,831) to be vetted by an independent panel. The guidelines also ban political parties from running campaigns for party political purposes.
Ludwig said exemptions could be sought in cases of "extreme urgency or other compelling reason" and agreed with Treasurer Wayne Swan that it was necessary to combat the furious backlash from miners on the 40 percent profit levy.
"I have accepted the treasurer's advice that there is an active campaign of misinformation about the proposed changes to our tax system and that Australians are concerned about how these changes will affect them," said Ludwig.
He said he also accepted Swan's view that the tax reforms were affecting financial markets, and stressed that the campaign, costing 38.5 million dollars over two years, had to be "objective and not directed at promoting party political interests."
The tax plan has prompted a savage backlash from the mining industry - Australia's most valuable in export terms - including an expensive advertising campaign featuring dire warnings about the country's prosperity.
Ludwig's opposition counterpart Michael Ronaldson said bypassing checks and balances on the grounds of a national emergency was an act of "contempt" for the public.


Updated : 2021-08-04 22:04 GMT+08:00