Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Australian carbon tax has not curbed new investment, Treasurer Swan says


Heavy equipment operates at an iron ore mine in Port Hedland, in Western Australia, on July 25, last year.

Photo: Reuters

Australia’s carbon tax and a levy on mining company profits has not stopped a surge in investment in the resources industry, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said.

“While there have been no end to the irresponsible claims made about the impact of both a price on carbon pollution and the new resource tax arrangements, the investment figures tell the real story,” Swan said in an economic note. “Far from putting a wrecking ball through the economy, investment has actually skyrocketed since these policies were announced.”

Australia has about A$260 billion (US$271 billion) of projects at an advanced stage, and the investment pipeline has increased about A$90 billion in the past year, Swan said. The government began taxing carbon emissions on July 1, along with new levies on iron ore and coal mining profits.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) this month raised forecasts for this year’s economic growth, citing consumer demand and continuing demand from emerging nations, for iron ore, coal and natural gas.

“Resource investment is expected to decline gradually in the latter part of the forecast period,” the RBA said in its quarterly monetary policy statement on Aug. 10. “The effect of this on GDP growth is expected to be roughly offset by faster growth in resource exports.”

The pipeline of investment projects “provides a rock-solid foundation for the economy in the face of continuing global turbulence,” Swan said.

Australia “is increasingly viewed as a ‘‘new safe haven,’’ he added.

The opposition Liberal-National coalition, favorites to win elections due next year, will get rid of taxes that stand in the way of projects such as the Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold mine expansion in South Australia, Australian leader of the opposition Tony Abbott said on Saturday.

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