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Greens leader attacks mining tax

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Greens leader Christine Milne has attacked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott of failing to be firm and assertive to miners.

Milne said the budget risks losing $20 billion if the major parties do not stand up to the mining giants and criticised them for not fixing the mining tax.

“It’s because the mining industry ran a major TV campaign against Kevin Rudd and it terrified the coalition and Labor,” she said.

“They made a determination there and then that they would accept the fact that the big miners would not have to pay a fair share.”

Mining giant Rio Tinto was recently refunded $74 million from the Australian Taxation Office on the only payment it made in April, meaning it has not paid any mining tax during the first year of the tax.

The Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) predicted a $30.1 billion deficit for 2013/14, AAP reported.

“It is no use Labor and the coalition having a going-nowhere debate on the GST when there is money to be had from fixing the mining tax right now,” she said in Hobart.

“Most Australians are fed up with the fact that there is almost an agreement between Liberal, Labor and the big end of town, the mining industry, to not talk about fixing the mining tax.”

Milne called on the government to fix the mining tax before a senate inquiry into the tax started. The Greens, who said loopholes came into place during negotiations, called for it to be fixed so revenue would be available for the Gonski education reforms, and other policies.

Milne said a Senate inquiry concluded the tax was deeply flawed. She said the parliamentary budget office had calculated revenues of $20 billion over the forward estimates under her party’s  policy.

She said the parliamentary budget office would examine Greens’ costings but she expected minimal change due to PEFO.

The PEFO report predicts the mining tax will climb from $80 million this year to $2.5 billion in 2016/17.

Milne said that is a write-down from $3.5 billion for this year.

She demanded Abbott reveal his party’s policy costings.

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