Rudd calls for super profits tax on big iron ore miners – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – April 22, 2021)

Iron ore miners are ripping off taxpayers amid buoyant commodity prices and should face the type of levy they successfully scuttled a decade ago, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Renewed calls for a super-profit tax of the type that triggered Mr Rudd’s political downfall in 2010 came as prices for iron ore surged again to within striking distance of a record.

A breach of the $US193 a tonne record set on February 16, 2011, was “absolutely possible” in the near future, according to NAB’s head of commodity research Lachlan Shaw, with futures prices suggesting there could be further gains on Tuesday evening’s price of $US189.61 a tonne.

Prices for Australia’s most lucrative export have quintupled since December 2015 on stronger than expected demand from Chinese steel mills. The rally has been turbocharged since January 2019 by a shortage caused by catastrophic dam failures at Brazilian mines.

Mr Rudd’s first stint as prime minister was unravelled by his plan to impose a super-profits tax on miners amid the 2010 commodity price boom, with the tax plan watered down by his successor Julia Gillard into the largely ineffective Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT).

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