THE potential for regional Australia to reap the benefits of the mining boom is at stake because of a High Court challenge against the controversial mining resources tax, the Deputy Prime Minister claims.
The Queensland Government confirmed on Monday they would challenge the Federal Government's Mineral Resources Rent Tax on the back of Fortescue Metal Groups, which launched a High Court challenge last month.
The resources tax, which aims to distribute wealth from mining revenue to communities, began on July 1.
Speaking in Brisbane following the Queensland Government's announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said Premier Campbell Newman was attempting to rob the punters.
"Something like 500,000 Queensland small businesses will benefit from the instant asset write-off (and) 1.4 million Queensland workers will benefit from the boost to superannuation," he said.
"And, of course, there is investment in infrastructure which flows directly from the revenue of the mining tax."
Mr Swan took a swipe at Mr Newman for sacking thousands of public service workers to cut costs but forking out thousands on a High Court appeal to "pay" LNP supporter and mining magnate Clive Palmer.
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie argued there was basis for the challenge as the tax could be constitutionally invalid.
"Taxes must be imposed equally and it can be argued the MRRT is calculated in such a way that it discriminates between states," he said.
And while Queensland was in dire financial circumstances, Mr Bleijie conceded the state had to afford the court action.
"Of course the state would like to minimise costs and the solicitor-general will be acting on behalf of the state and effectively the advice we pay for is from crown law advice, which is at our disposal at any event."
Mr Bleijie estimated legal costs could amount to $300,000.
The Attorney-General confirmed he had not had any contact with Mr Palmer or his office regarding the challenge.
Mr Palmer also dismissed claims he was the motivation for the High Court challenge, calling the accusations just "another personal attack" from Mr Swan.
"Professor Palmer has opposed the carbon tax, not the MRRT," Mr Palmer's spokesperson said.
"The MRRT applies to the miner, in Professor Palmer's case with his projects in the Pilbara in Western Australia he is the landlord and is entitled to a royalty."
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