There is only one thing you need to know about the final decline of the ABC and that is the appointment of ex-Fairfax journalist, Ian Verrender, as Business Editor, a person who hates business with a passion.
What was Mark Scott and the board thinking? Verrender came to the ABC with a dubious reputation and zero broadcasting skills. His appearances on the television are truly embarrassing.
But just in case you are in any doubt – and ABC Board members, wake up – you are responsible for the editorial standards of the organisation – check out Verrender’s howler from The Drum today:
If there’s one thing Abbott and his Treasurer, Joe Hockey, have never explained, it’s why a mining tax on iron and coal is evil and a “handbrake on the economy”, when they happily accept the revenue from a mining tax on oil and gas.
Australia is a raw materials exporter and, when it comes to minerals and energy, we are talking about non-renewable resources that belong to the Commonwealth, not the mining companies.
A Resources Rent Tax was the centrepiece of the Henry Tax Review and the former treasury secretary advocated a resources tax on all mineral and energy extraction.
It wasn’t an entirely original idea. Paul Keating introduced one almost 30 years ago on oil and gas deposits in Australian territorial waters. It’s worked brilliantly. And it is still in operation today. In fact, the Abbott Government endorsed its extension, to include oil and gas operations on land.
So, if there’s one thing Abbott and his Treasurer, Joe Hockey, have never explained, it’s why a mining tax on iron and coal is evil and a “handbrake on the economy”, when they happily accept the revenue from a mining tax on oil and gas.
Where is the outcry from mainstream economists over this anomaly? Apart from a few academics, it’s sadly missing. That’s because most are employed by big business, either directly or through consultancy work.
Has the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax been a “handbrake”? Has it deterred foreign investment?
Judging by the number of multi-national energy companies operating within Australia and in our waters, clearly not. Not one oil company has ever complained about the petroleum tax. It has not deterred one cent of foreign investment. In fact, more than $200 billion has been invested in LNG projects in Australia.
And it would have been the same for the minerals resources rent tax.
In a good year, the petroleum tax tips more than $2 billion in revenue into the federal budget coffers.
Here’s the thing, Ian: the PRRT applies in Commonwealth waters, beyond State government boundaries. In other words, no state royalties are payable. When the PRRT was introduced, it replaced a very inefficient income/revenue levy which the producers were keen to see abolished. But, mate, there was no overlay of state royalties on top of the PRRT.
So you see, the clown is you. The mining tax was a handbrake on investment in iron ore and coal, both of which pay state royalties. In the case of PRRT, there were no state royalties.
In fact, it was many years before the PRRT delivered any significant revenue because of the way in which it was structured meant that companies could bring all past expenditure to book. And with the low price of oil (and the renewed protection of recent investments), there is likely to be significant dip in PRRT revenue in the next few years.
And, maate, maate, (land-based) minerals do not belong to the Commonwealth – they belong to the states. Does this guy know anything?