Treasurer defends Australia's mining tax after "zero earnings"
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan defended the government's mining profits tax on Thursday after reports that no revenue had been collected in the first quarter due to China-driven cooling in the sector.
The conservative opposition seized on claims in The Australian newspaper that the tax on so-called "super profits" reaped nothing in the first three months of the financial year to June 30, 2013 as proof it was a botched policy.
"Only Labor could introduce a new tax that doesn't raise a single cent, but has billions of dollars of expenditure against it," said opposition finance spokesman Joe Hockey.
But Mr Swan blamed a "real crash in commodity prices" for the tax's slow start, with Canberra this week scaling back estimated receipts for 2012/13 from A$3 billion (S$3.80 billion) to A$2 billion.