During the final hearing of the Corporate Tax Avoidance Senate Inquiry in Melbourne yesterday, Exxon admitted it does not expect to pay any corporate income tax in Australia until 2021.
The company estimated it would pay around $600 million in 2021 only after paying nothing for eight years in a row.
Make Exxon Pay researcher and hearing witness, Jason Ward, said Exxon’s testimony proved the company was “arrogant, entitled and not transparent” when it came to paying no tax in Australia.
“Today we saw Exxon admit it won’t pay a cent in company tax until 2021. By then Exxon would have made over $50 billion out of Australia and put back nothing in company tax. That is shocking and will anger millions of taxpayers.
“At the same time, Exxon has pushed out more than 200 workers from its Longford Plant in Gippsland, Victoria, without pay for 266 days, after the workers faced pay cuts and anti-family shift rosters.
“The Gippsland workers who Exxon has pushed out without pay have paid more tax than Exxon itself for years now.
“Exxon claimed that the company’s investments created a ‘unique’ period of no corporate tax payments. But everyday Australians don’t get such treatment at tax time. It’s time Exxon came clean about how they pay no tax – they still dodge the real questions,” Mr Ward said.
When asked why the company was cutting the pay of its contracted workforce, Exxon said it was “very comfortable” with the way it treated workers.
Locked out workers travelled from Gippsland to the hearing today to rally outside, including Troy Carter, a fitter and AMWU delegate, who said:
“It’s wage cuts for us and tax-free money for them. It’s hard enough making ends meet these days especially when you have kids, companies like Exxon don’t realise the pressure they’re putting on ordinary Australians like us.”
“When I found out that Exxon isn’t paying any tax at the same time they expect us all to take pay cuts, I couldn’t believe it,” Mr Carter said.
The company was also grilled on its ownership structure, and why the company failed to tell Senators in 2015 that Exxon Australia is in fact owned by a Netherlands Exxon subsidiary. Exxon told Senators they did not read a key submission made to the inquiry by an Oxford academic showing Australia had one of the lowest resource company tax collections in the world. Exxon also said it wouldn’t pay any petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) on their quarter stake in the Gorgon gas project until the mid-2030s.