'Incompetent' Swan should quit: Hockey

By a staff reporter, with AAP

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has seized on the government's disclosure of revenue from its minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) to suggest Treasurer Wayne Swan should resign.

"Wayne Swan is the most incompetent treasurer in Australian history," Mr Hockey said in Sydney.

"If Wayne Swan had any self respect he would resign."

Treasurer Wayne Swan revealed the MRRT had raised just $126 million in revenue over the past six months - far short of the $2 billion forecast for the full financial year.

Mr Hockey said the MRRT revenue showed the government had locked in expenditure and funding commitments against revenue that wasn't there.

"This government has committed us to a lifestyle that we cannot afford - and they don't care," Mr Hockey said.

"And they don't care."

Mr Hockey said the introduction of the MRRT had damaged business certainty but failed to raise anything approaching the government's original forecasts.

"The Australian Taxation Office has now spent $50 million preparing for a tax that has raised $126 million and has caused untold harm to Australian miners and investment confidence in Australia," he said.

"When the treasurer released his economic statement in October last year, he forecast $2 billion of mining tax revenue this year on the basis of an Australian dollar at 102 (US) cents.

"It is now 103 cents, so he can't blame the Australian dollar."

Nor could Mr Swan blame commodity prices, Mr Hockey said, because there was widespread belief commodity prices were now recovering.

Mr Hockey also reiterated the coalition's campaign promise to scrap the mining tax if it is elected to government in September.

Oakeshott urges more discussions on MRRT

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott says the federal government needs to reopen talks with the states and crossbench MPs and amend its mining tax legislation.

Mr Oakeshott said he was glad to see the detail, after repeated requests for information.

"What the figure reveals, now clearly shows to all, is there is unfinished business and there are some structural issues that need to be addressed," Mr Oakeshott told AAP.

"The parliament, the government and the broader community needs to have the bottle to fix it."

The NSW MP also said he would support a Greens private member's bill, due to go before parliament next week, to overturn the tax deductibility of state mining royalties.

But Mr Oakeshott said while the Greens' bill had merit, it would be better if the government resolved issues with the tax by negotiation.

"There is some urgency about delivering on the very point of the exercise and moving from a bad state tax to a good and sensible national tax," he said.

"If they are serious about the rhetoric of spreading the benefits of the boom, well, there is not much spreading going on in the current figures."

He said while the MRRT revenue figure was low, he did not believe there was any risk to programs funded by the tax.

Mr Oakeshott said he would discuss the tax with Mr Swan at his regular briefing next week.

Fellow independent MP Tony Windsor declined to comment in detail, telling AAP, "I am pleased to see that the figure has been released."

Greens disappointed by MMRT revenue

The Australian Greens have declared Labor's mining tax a dud.

Greens lower house MP Adam Bandt said if it's not fixed before the May budget, there could be cuts to welfare and there won't enough funds for education reform.

"It's now clear that Labor's mining tax is a dud," he said.

Greens leader Christine Milne said the MRRT rate should be lifted to 40 per cent, loopholes allowing mining companies to be reimbursed for increased royalties paid to state governments must be closed and generous accelerated depreciation provisions removed.

She said those three measures could raise $26 billion over the next four years.

"It's time that we fixed this tax so we actually raise money from the big mining companies," she told reporters in Canberra.

The government says the MRRT revenue is being hit by lower commodity prices and a high Australian dollar.

Senator Milne said while commodities prices were down they were still at historic levels.

"Unfortunately Tony Abbott and Wayne Swan and the prime minister are too afraid of Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer et al to actually take them on," she said.

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said the result was "hugely disappointing", adding Labor should back the minor party's planned amendments to the impost on the mining super profits of coal and iron ore producers.

"It's a long way short of the government's projections and many billions of dollars short of the original Treasury-backed mining tax," he told Sky News.

"How are we going to pay for the things that we need in this country?"

Senator Di Natale said the low revenue was the result of a watering down of the original resources tax proposed by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

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