Carbon and mining taxes to be high on COAG agenda

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today sit down with 26 business leaders and state and territory representatives for the inaugural COAG business advisory forum in Canberra.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury told ABC radio the forum would give businesses the opportunity to advise the government on key issues such as how to reduce regulation and red tape.

The leaders of some of Australia’s biggest companies, including Telstra, Transfield, BHP Billiton, National Australia Bank, Wesfarmers, Origin Energy, Woolworths and Shell, will attend the meeting.

The carbon tax, the mining tax and red tape will be high on the agenda at the meeting.

The $23-per-tonne carbon price is well above the global market price of about $10, while miners such as Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart say the mining tax will kill investment. But Gloucester Coal chairman James MacKenzie says any negative foreign investment impact of the new taxes may be overstated.

“In the last 12 months I’ve done two overseas roadshows with investors for Gloucester Coal and I haven’t heard a grizzle about the MRRT and carbon tax,” MacKenzie told ABC Radio.

Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder, who’ll be at the meeting, told ABC Radio the red tape across all three levels of government added to the “huge cost” of doing business.

“In almost everything we do, there seems to be more red tape than there was 10 years ago,” Goyder said.

“If we streamline these approval processes, the level of activity will increase.”

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