The Australian government has raised a mere A$126m ($130m) from the controversial Mineral Resources Rent Tax, a great deal short of predicted annual estimates of A$2bn ($2.06bn).
Treasurer Wayne Swan noted that the fall in commodity prices had severely hit the resources industry, which in turn hurt the tax revenues.
"Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is a profits-based tax that raises more revenue when profits are higher and less when they are lower," Swan said in a statement.
The mining tax, which was introduced on 1 July 2012, was initially expected to generate revenues of A$3bn ($3.09bn) in the year to 30 June 2013, but later the figures were reduced to $2bn.
The tax is levied on 30% of the ‘super profits’ earned by companies from mining iron ore and coal.
Major mining firms had opposed the tax, claiming that it would not only negatively affect their competitiveness but also hamper future investment in the industry.
Since January 2013, the opposition had been seeking transparency over tax revenues following reports by The Australian newspaper that it failed to generate any revenues.
Early this week, the Senate had passed a motion ordering the Commissioner of Taxation to reveal the total earnings the government has made since the tax was implemented.
Swan had previously rejected demands to release the earning figures, citing violation of the privacy provisions of the tax laws.
The stunted earnings will be a huge setback to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government, especially with the general election scheduled to be held in September this year.
Image: Treasurer Wayne Swan noted that the fall in commodity prices had severely hit the resources industry, which in turn hurt the revenues from the mining tax. Photo: Timeshift9.