On 21 December 2010 two reports were released which provided advice to the Government on the recommended technical design of the proposed Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT). The reports also considered the transition of existing petroleum projects to the Petroleum Resource Rent (PRRT) as well as policies to promote minerals and petroleum exploration in Australia.

The reports were prepared by a group jointly chaired by the former chair of BHP Billiton Limited, Mr Don Argus, and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Mr Martin Ferguson. They provided the Government with 94 recommendations, including that the MRRT should not be used as a mechanism to enable States and Territories to increase inefficient royalties on MRRT taxable commodities and that all current future State and Territory royalties on coal and iron ore should be credited.

The Treasurer’s response to these reports was to advise that the recommendations will be considered by the Government and responded to in early 2011 following Cabinet consideration and discussion with State and Territory governments.

The Government also confirmed the reports will inform the preparation of exposure draft legislation intended to be released by mid-2011.