“Obviously we were disappointed to see the way in which a rumour or an assertion about the diesel fuel rebate was put around the business community, not just in WA but nationally,” Swan told an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia luncheon in Perth yesterday.
“There was no reason for it.”
The comments were in response to a request by Atlas Iron chairman David Flanagan to rule out any future cut to the rebate.
It was widely expected that the government would cut the diesel fuel rebate in the budget and miners had lobbied hard in the lead-up.
“It didn’t have any origins in anything the government was doing in preparation for this year’s budget – none whatsoever,” Swan said.
Swan said following last year’s tax forum, four areas where there could have been savings in the business community were put forward for consideration in the lead-up to the budget.
“The diesel fuel rebate was not one of those,” he said.
“It wasn’t a recommendation of that group though I’m sure there is many people who are convinced it was, but it simply wasn’t.”
Flanagan then pressed Swan to rule out any further taxes on the mining industry.
“I’m not ruling anything in or out and I never do during a budget process,” Swan said.
“Any government action on the diesel fuel rebate was not in contemplation at all, not recommended by that group … and I regard the way in which that rumour was circulated around the community as particularly malicious because it was never at any stage being contemplated by the government.”
This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.