Labor must renegotiate mining tax: Greens

If Prime Minister Julia Gillard doesn't renegotiate the mining tax to generate more revenue, all the talk about sharing the super profits has been nothing but rhetoric, Australian Greens leader Christine Milne says.

Senator Milne says the Labor government should revert to the old planned mining tax to find $26 billion in revenue over the next four years, instead of the projected $9 billion.

By "plugging the loopholes" in the Mining Resources Revenue Tax (MRRT) and establishing the 40 per cent tax rate recommended by former treasury secretary Ken Henry, Ms Gillard could be investing in a happier Australia, Senator Milne said.

"If she won't (renegotiate) then it is an acknowledgment that all the talk about super profits, all the talk about sharing the benefits of the boom is no more than talk," Senator Milne told reporters after an address to the Greens national conference in Sydney on Saturday.

"... What we're going to see is the miners celebrate all the way to the bank."

Single parents, the unemployed and the entire nation would pay, she said.

"Ken Henry put forward a well-designed mining super profits tax," Senator Milne said.

"Now, instead of confidently investing in a happier, healthier, smarter Australia, (Treasurer) Wayne Swan is scrambling to meet a political surplus target by slugging single parents, cutting support for research, education and training and refusing to lift Newstart to a liveable level."

The government had lost a huge opportunity but it was not too late to change the tax, Senator Milne added.

However, Ms Gillard said she would not be taking advice from anyone about a tax that was already in place.

Ms Gillard said she was confident the government had implemented a mining tax that was right for the nation and she would not be changing it.

"I worked on it directly with (Resources Minister) Martin Ferguson and with Wayne Swan. We agreed on it with some of the nation's biggest mining companies," she told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

"We have enacted the MRRT we think is appropriate and consequently we won't be taking advice from the Greens political party or anybody else on this question."

Senator Milne said she wasn't surprised that the prime minister was not enthusiastic about renegotiation, given it was she and the treasurer who had originally "caved" to the mining industry's $22 million campaign to see the tax rate decreased.

"This goes to the heart of the prime minister's claims to be the great negotiator," Senator Milne said.

"Well let's put our shoulders to the wheel and renegotiate so that we get a tax that raises money in the best interests of the community."

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