Newly installed Prime Minister Julia Gillard has offered a truce and fresh negotiations with the mining industry over the government's proposed Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT).
Watching the industry's advertising campaign, you'd think the RSPT spelt the end of civilisation as we know it. According to one BHP Billiton ad, the RSPT will mean “fewer projects, jobs and opportunities for our future generations”. The ad's title, above an all-Australian image of young blokes playing footy, reads: “Australia loves to compete, but the Super Tax could take us out of the game.”
Would the tax really mean big companies couldn't afford to invest in jobs? Does Gillard really need to find some “middle ground”?
The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) said coal companies operating in Australia will earn $97.1 billion in profits between 2012 and 2016. Even with the RSPT, the coal bosses will pocket $82.3 billion of this massive profit, while the Australian people will receive a modest $14.8 billion in tax revenue.
The CFMEU pointed out: “A decade ago, the Australian people received $1 back on every $3 made from our natural resources. Today, that figure has halved to only a $1 return on every $7 the industry makes.”
This is the information the government should be getting out there. The mining industry bosses are making incredible profits; they can most definitely afford to invest in jobs and communities. But the intense competition between the mining companies drives them to subordinate everything to the accumulation of more profit.
Everything else is secondary — their employees, the planet and the truth.
This is the information Green Left Weekly promises to publicise. We promise to expose the lies and put forward rational solutions to these problems.
One simple example: Australia could nationalise the mining industry and use the revenue to invest directly in a massive renewable energy roll-out. If Gillard put this option on the table, I bet the mining industry would agree to pay their fair share of taxes quick smart!
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