“We won’t know until the group reports towards the end of the year,” he told ILN last week after the first PTG meeting was held in Perth.
“But knowing the calibre of people that sit on that group, they wouldn’t take too kindly to it being, you know, making up numbers or filling in time.
“I think they are pretty committed to making this work their end.
“If they got whiff of anything that wasn’t a genuine attempt to get an outcome for both industry and government then they would be out of there.”
But he had stronger views on the federal government’s refusal to release the commodity price assumptions used to meet the intended $A10.5 billion of tax revenue within the first two years on the grounds they are “commercial in confidence”
He said the federal government needed to be transparent in the way it would operate.
“It’s a pity that sort of detail can’t be made public.
“I can’t see how it can be that commercially sensitive given how we all speculate on the price of iron ore, as we do on all commodities.”
Mine Life senior resources analyst Gavin Wendt had a bigger question.
“I’ve been intrigued all the way along by the fact there has been this secrecy associated with the whole deal [the Minerals Resource Rent Tax] and why is that the case?”
While the nationwide wave of industry consultation will explore the design of the tax, the government is adamant the tax take will remain $10.5 billion.
The government did release a 133-page Issues Paper on the tax but this does not detail commodity price assumptions and some analysts expect the eventual tax take to be much lower.
One of the burning issues to be worked out is the taxing point of the MRRT.
Emerging coal companies would also like to have tax deductibility for infrastructure costs – with port and rail developments playing a crucial role in getting most new coal projects off the ground.
The deadline for industry submissions on the MRRT is October 28.