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Australian super-tax defeated

THE ROW over a proposed "super-tax" on mining, oil and gas companies has been settled in spectacular style after the ousting of prime minister Kevin Rudd in a modern-day palace coup

The government's proposed resource super-profits tax (RSPT) has been watered down significantly in a concession that confirms the immense political influence of Australia's resources sector, but has also highlighted the financial fragility of some of its biggest projects. The planned "rent tax" on mining profits has been lowered from 40% to an effective 22.5%, a climb-down accompanied by other concessions to the mining industry, which had threatened to mothball projects if the proposed regime became reality. The new proposals are the culminations of tense negotiations between Julia Gillard, Australia's new prime minister, and the heads of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, the country's

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