THE federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott has declared the mining tax ''unsustainable'' and said unless federal and state governments sort out the dispute over royalties, the tax must be brought back to Parliament and amended.
Mr Oakeshott described as a ''complete waste of time'' a lengthy meeting with Treasury officials in Sydney on Tuesday, which he requested after reports the mining tax, which began on July 1, made little or no revenue in its first three months of operation.
It is understood Treasury would give him no figures on how much the tax had made or was expected to make, citing privacy concerns because only a handful of companies were liable for the tax.
Mr Oakeshott has complained that a loophole that allows miners to deduct from their mining tax liability the royalties they pay to states needs to be closed. The Greens are of the same view because the loophole has become an open invitation to the states to keep raising royalties and gouging the mining tax proceeds.
''Commonwealth-state relations are going to be tested to the max,'' Mr Oakeshott said.
He said unless an accommodation could be reached regarding royalties, the tax needed to be amended.
The Greens have a bill before Parliament trying to close the royalties loophole, which the modelling showed cost $2.2 billion in lost federal revenue.
The midyear budget update estimated the tax would make $9.1 billion in its first four years and the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, said on Tuesday that this estimate already factored in the impact of known royalty increases.
The story 'Unsustainable' mining tax must be fixed - Oakeshott first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.