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Swan urges BHP to explain tax affairs

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Former federal treasurer Wayne Swan says the board of mining giant BHP Billiton must explain how the company sought to evade $300 million in Queensland state royalty payments.

The BHP annual general meeting will be held in Brisbane on November 17.

Mr Swan told federal parliament on Thursday the company had developed a "culture of tax avoidance" over the past decade and the board meeting was an opportunity to explain its actions.

"Not only have they flouted federal tax law, they have also behaved disgracefully in seeking to avoid state royalty payments through transfer pricing," he said.

The Labor MP has accused BHP of using a Singapore tax shield to smuggle profits out of Australia.

"The evidence against BHP is damning. Over a decade, they have ramped up their Singapore marketing hub to camouflage aggressive transfer pricing," he said.

"Now that the truth and scale of their activities are before the Australian people, it is imperative that they outline a new, ethical approach that repudiates their tax-avoiding past, and sets an example for other corporates well into the future."

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