MELBOURNE, April 28 (Reuters) - The Australian government said on Friday it won’t revise up petroleum taxes in next month’s federal budget, allaying industry fears after it last year raised concerns about declining tax revenues.
The decision will come as a relief to oil and gas producers, who have been battling a collapse in prices after spending $180 billion on mega projects to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The government said last November that takings from the nation’s petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) had halved to A$800 million ($600 million) since 2013, while revenue from crude oil excise taxes had more than halved due to a slump in oil and gas prices and falling output.
A review concluded on Friday that the PRRT, a tax based on profits from oil and gas production on- and offshore Australia, should be revised for new projects, but not existing ones, and only following talks with the industry.
“The report finds the decline in PRRT revenue does not, in itself, indicate the Australian community is being shortchanged in receiving an equitable return from the development of its resources,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement.
The review said no changes were needed to the crude oil excise or Commonwealth royalty scheme.
Major oil and gas producers and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association were all vehemently opposed to changes to the tax regime.
$1 = 1.3383 Australian dollars Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin