Monday, May 17, 2010

Peter Dutton is ahead on his BHP shares

Coalition frontbencher Peter Dutton bought BHP on Tuesday May 4 when it closed $38.59

Friday it closed $38.64

He was better share trader than he was a politician.

Debate over the proposed Resource Super Profits Tax has turned personal with Coalition frontbencher Peter Dutton confirming that he bought shares in BHP two days after his leader said the tax would kill the mining industry "stone dead".

In a statement issued late yesterday the Shadow Minister for Health and Aging said he bought $2000 of BHP shares on May 4 "because Mr Rudd's reckless announcement of his new mining tax wiped value off good companies".

"I believed then as I do now that the Coalition will win the election and put a stop to this damaging tax".

Asked on Channel Nine to explain his frontbencher's actions Opposition leadxer Tony Abbott said he would "let every person make their own investment decisions".

"But if you take BHP at its word, there's the coal mines in Queensland, the iron ore mines and the uranium mines in the west, there’s the $22 billion Olympic Dam expansion. All big question marks over them because of the new tax"...

Treasurer Wayne Swan said it was impossible to trust an Opposition that was "out there saying this will ruin the mining sector while one of their most senior frontbenchers is buying shares in BHP."

"Mr Abbott and Mr Dutton must now admit this is nothing but a scare campaign."

Mr Swan rejected Opposition claims the changed tax arrangements could hit the prices of phosphate, gravel and sand and through them the prices of food and housing.

"The fact is many of these low-value commodities might do much better in a resource super profits tax than they currently do," he told the ABC. "We are talking to them to see whether they might be better off or not. Low-value commodities are punished, absolutely punished, by the present royalty regime."

At present low profit mining companies or those in the early state of mining pay royalty fees regardless of whether or not they are doing well. The proposed super profits tax would refund those fees, grant a tax credit for 40 per cent of the cost of developing the mine and take 40 per cent of the excess profits only after the mine was clearly in the black.

BHP Billiton shares have slipped 5 per cent in the fortnight since the tax was announced at a time when the overall ASX-200 index has slipped 4 per cent.

The union which represents mining workers last night launched a television ad urging their bosses to accept the tax and "put something back".

Over images of mines and cash registers the advertisement says "for decades the mining industry has been tkaing things out of Australia. Along the way it's made some mining bosses very very rich. Now Australia is asking them to give something back."

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said the campaign aimed to "inject a bit of truth and reality" into the debate.

"This is all about the personal profits, not the companies' profits, not employment levels," he said. "There is a lot of bullshit out there, a
lot of rubbish."

Published in today's SMH and Age 

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