Resource tax gains in popularity
The majority of Australians continue to want a mining tax, according to a new survey.
The majority of Australians continue to want a mining tax, according to a new survey. THE majority of Australians continue to want a mining tax, with supporters outnumbering opponents almost two-to-one, according to a survey to be released today.As the government released draft legislation yesterday containing only minor changes to strengthen the ''integrity'' of its mining tax, Greens leader Bob Brown announced he would use next month's tax forum to push for a tax cut for small businesses, from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, denying big business any relief.The government's policy is to use the mining tax revenue to cut the corporate tax rate for all businesses from 30 per cent to 29 per cent, along with a boost to superannuation and infrastructure.But today's survey by think tank Per Capita shows 72 per cent of Australians believe big business already pays too little tax, up 8 percentage points on a year ago.''People in the community see that business is announcing profits in the tens of billions of dollars and there is a perception they're not carrying their fair share,'' said Per Capita executive director David Hetherington, while observing that Australia's corporate tax rate was in fact ''about middling'' compared with similar economies.About 49 per cent of Australians were opposed to the idea of a mining ''super profits'' tax when it was announced last year, according to an Age/Nielsen poll taken last June. But Per Capita's survey of 1300 people found that opposition to the tax shrank to just 27 per cent at the end of 2010, with 52 per cent supporting the tax and 21 per cent unsure.Support was only likely to have risen since then, according to Mr Hetherington, given the visibility of the negative impacts of the mining boom and a high Australian dollar on parts of the economy.''The two-speed economy has become more prominent as mining investment has ramped up and sectors like retail, tourism and manufacturing have been hit by a combination of a higher dollar and lower consumer sentiment. Those factors have taken the edge off the debate about the mining tax.''Support for a mining tax was relatively high in Western Australia (54 per cent) and Queensland (52 per cent) despite being home to most of the mining companies affected. Of those opposed to the tax, a third said it was only because they did not trust the government to use the proceeds responsibly.Of those supporting the tax, a third believed the revenue should be used to fund everyday public services and another third said it should be spent building infrastructure. Just 15 per cent wanted personal income tax cuts and 8 per cent said invest it in a long-term national savings fund.Overall, the survey found Australians are less generous in their attitudes towards tax, with 46 per cent believing they pay too much tax (up from 44 per cent a year earlier) and 43 per cent believing they pay the right amount (down from 45 per cent).''Consumers have felt under pressure and there is a perception that the tax system hasn't been as supportive as it was seen to be 12 months ago,'' Mr Hetherington said.The survey also showed most Australians (59 per cent) believe the 9 per cent rate of compulsory super will not be enough to fund an adequate retirement.