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Australian to release revised economic forecasts
Date: 2010/7/14 Click: 2058
Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan will release revised economic forecasts on Wednesday, revealing the government is still on track to return the budget to surplus despite reduced revenue from its redesigned mining tax.

Swan said when he delivered the budget in May that it would return to surplus in 2012/13, earlier than anticipated, in part because of the proposed resources super profits tax (RSPT).

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb demanded Swan "come out of hiding" and explain how the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) will bring in 10.5 billion dollars (9.29 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue.

A spokesman for the treasurer confirmed Swan would release the updated economic forecasts on Wednesday.

"We consider it appropriate to update Australians on the performance of our economy as we move forward under the new leadership of Prime Minister Julia Gillard," the spokesman said.

"This is the right thing to do given uncertainty in the global economy and community appetite for more detail on the fiscal impact of our tax reforms."

The original 40 percent RSPT was expected to generate 12 billion dollars (10.6 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue in its first two years of implementation.

The MRRT, negotiated soon after Julia Gillard became prime minister, will bring in 10.5 billion dollars (9.29 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue.

The updated figures would confirm the budget's return to surplus in three years, three years early and ahead of every major advanced economy, Swan's spokesman said.

"Even though the numbers will highlight the very strong performance of our national economy in avoiding recession and keeping unemployment low, we understand many Australians are still struggling to make ends meet."

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the revision of economic forecasts so early in the financial year shows an "absurd" government on the run.

"What a panic stricken government it is, two weeks into the financial year they're now changing the numbers," Hockey told ABC TV.

"Their budget has lasted two weeks this financial year and now the treasurer is coming out with an extraordinary update of budget numbers."

Hockey blamed the ruling Labor Party for rising utility bills, rents and mortgages, and promised a coalition (Liberal and National) government would restore stability.
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