BHP’s profits soar

A Massive $10.5 billion half-year
profit announced by BHP Billiton has reignited calls for the federal government
to ramp up taxes on mining companies to secure a bigger share of the resources
boom for Australian taxpayers.

BHP’s half-year result – the
biggest in Australian corporate history- was announced on the same day it
emerged that Labour’s back down on the mining tax before the federal election
could end up costing taxpayers $60 billion over a decade.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard
said she would not budge on the mining resource rent tax, the watered-down plan
that emerged after the government caved in to a public campaign by mining
companies against its original ”super profits” tax.

”We will deliver … the tax as I
agreed it with Australia’s biggest mining companies. We will not be
compromising that agreement,” Ms Gillard said.

BHP’s profit for the final six
months of 2010 was up 72 per cent on a year earlier, and puts the company on
track for Australia’s first annual result of more than $20 billion.

Treasury estimates show Kevin
Rudd’s original mining super profits tax would have reaped $99 billion for
taxpayers between 2012-13 and 2020-21.

The revised tax was tipped to bring
in $38.5 billion – or $60.5 billion less.

”The big mining companies will
effectively take $60 billion out of Australian taxpayers’ pockets as they gouge
profits out of Australian soil and ship it offshore,” Greens leader Bob Brown
said in response to the Treasury figures.

”This profit of BHP in the order
of $20 billion-plus for a year, headed in the region of $27 billion next year,
the analysts tell us, is something that government has to see properly and
adequately shared to the Australian people.

And that’s not going to happen
unless we have governments with backbone.”

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