02 July 2010

A deal on mining tax

At last there is what looks like a settlement of the mining tax row. That is to the good, and at least the Government has salvaged something from the wreckage of what has to be the most incompetently conducted public policy process since the now-abandoned attempts to introduce an emissions trading scheme.

But what a demeaning process it has been. Instead of giving the miners a decent hearing and then making its own decisions about the design and parameters of the tax, the sovereign Government of Australia got itself into a situation where it had to submit its thinking to the major miners for approval – in effect, “Would it be alright if we did this?”, and “How would it be if we did thus and so?”. Not one of the finer moments in the history of Australian public administration.

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