Abbott government shields mining companies from budget “heavy lifting”

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If everyone has to contribute to lifting Australia's budget out of the red, as Treasurer Joe Hockey is so fond of saying, then the Australian Greens say it's unfair and unreasonable for big mining companies to be excused on three fronts.

"First, this government wants to repeal the mining tax, which should be strengthened instead. Second, repealing the price on pollution lets big miners off the hook, creating a gaping hole in government revenue. Now we learn the Abbott government is not even going to consider ending fossil fuel rebates for the big mining companies," said Greens Leader Christine Milne.

"The Greens have always said farmers who need our support should continue to receive it through the fuel rebate, but the big miners can't have it both ways. They're making a one-off profit from natural resources that belong to every Australian, and if they won't pay the mining tax they must stop reaping billions of dollars from the public purse through rebates.

"Tony Abbott cannot justify handouts to hugely profitable mining companies while claiming he can't afford to uphold Australia's universal healthcare system.

"It seems that everyone but the big end of town will do the ‘heavy lifting' in this budget," said Senator Milne.

"Any kind of deficit tax is a broken promise by Tony Abbott, and if he's so willing to break a promise, it should be one that would help our society, not damage it further.

"Tony Abbott must end protection racket for his big-business mates. This government must do what's right for communities: keep the price on pollution, strengthen the mining tax and end multi-billion dollar rebates for miners."