Australian capitalism

THE mining company owned by billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has not paid any corporate tax for seven years.

And the high-profile critic of the Federal Government’s proposed mining tax has admitted it may not be liable to pay that either.

Mr Forrest is Australia’s richest man, worth an estimated $6 billion, and recently acquired a $50 million private jet. His Fortescue Metals Group is valued at $16 billion.

Fortescue Metals’ tax manager, Marcus Hughes, conceded to a parliamentary committee yesterday: “We have not cut a corporate tax cheque to date.”

But Mr Hughes said that after writing off exploration and development costs since 2003, the company would be “paying our first company tax cheque effective 1 December this year”, of $100 million.

He expected it would pay $800 million next year.


While it is true that Fortescue paid no company tax for 7 years, the exploration and development cycle of the company appears to be levelling off. At that point Fortescue starts behaving like a mature company, claiming a more normal menu of tax minimisation loopholes.

Of interest is this website:

which when compared with the data in this website:

demonstrates the level of control of Fortescue by Australia’s Big Four Banks, and by some of the biggest banks in the world.

These websites also help to demonstrate how Australia’s Big Four are part owned by the same huge banks that own a large part of Fortescue.

These data, in turn, help to clarify how important the Australian mining sector is in the world economy and the world financial system.


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