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Greens mining tax policy numbers questioned

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The costings of the Greens’ mining tax proposal for the election have been deemed to be able to be priced at “very low” reliability.

The party’s mining tax proposal is very similar to Kevin Rudd’s original controversial mining tax design.

But the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, which was set up collaboratively by the Greens and Labor, cautioned the Greens’ predictions the mining tax will generate $20.8 billion are “extremely sensitive” to issues such as commodity prices fluctuations and the exchange rate.

It also said there was no solid tax data that back the estimates, nor was there any solid indication on how taxpayers would receive the policy.

The PBO’s policy on mining did not include coal used in domestic electricity creation.

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

Milne had proudly claimed the PBO 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.

The Greens Party has 39 policies that plan to reallocate wealth, according to the PBO’s costings.

It proposes to generate tens of billions of dollars through the modified mining tax and a levy on banks and allocate that back into a Denticare scheme. This would subtract $8.3 billion a year from the budget bottom line when it becomes a universal scheme, The Australian reported.

It also proposes an improved paid parental leave scheme that would subtract $2.2 billion from the budget over four years to 2016-17.

The PBO costings showed the Denticare scheme would cost $4.7 billion over the four years to 2016-17, and would cost $8.3 billion a year by 2018-19.

The PBO also said it would cost $2.49 billion over the forward estimates period to hand small business a company tax rate and other benefits.

It also said moving forward initial prerequisites for high-speed rail would cost $664 million over this period.

The environmental impact statement would cost around $570 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The party leader Christine Milne defended her party’s mining tax policy, and said there was an “almost silent agreement” between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that “they will not raise money from the big miners who are making record profits and instead they will take it away from single parents and the poorest and take it out of universities”.

She said her party’s mining tax policy is similar to the Henry tax review and the Rudd government’s resources super-profits tax.

She added mining companies can manage to pay the mining tax as designed by her party.

“This is all about the political power of the big miners (who) have frightened the old parties and instead they would rather take the money out of the pockets of single parents, take it out of universities than take it out of the pockets of big miners capable of running a major advertising campaign against them,” she said.

“It’s about corporate power over the democratic process. And the Greens are standing with the people.”

It was recently found Rio Tinto has not paid any mining tax during the first year of the tax as the Australian Tax Office recently refunded $74 million to the company on the payment it made in April.

She asked the Prime Minister and Opposition leader “if there’s $20 billion to be had from fixing the mining tax, why won’t they do it?” and said her policy will not “cripple” the mining sector.

“Why do they want to keep people in poverty? That is a very substantial difference the Greens have. We’re prepared to raise the money from people who can afford to pay, in order to help those that are struggling in our community.”

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.

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