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Surplus on the back of single parents and job-seekers, while miners off the hook

Today's projected budget surplus is on the back of single parents, trainees and apprentices, researchers and job-seekers, instead of sensibly plugging loopholes in the mining tax and building a stronger revenue base for future investments, the Australian Greens said.

"Today's Budget update confirms that Labor is more committed to Australia being a coal country than a caring or clever country," Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"Wayne Swan's Robin Hood fancy dress won't impress the 100,000 single parents who will find it harder to feed their children, or researchers looking for smarter ways to do things, or the 660,000 Australians looking for work, when the massively profitable mining companies still aren't paying their fair share of tax.

"With more and more people seeking work, now is a terrible time to make it harder for them by cutting $1.8 billion from higher education and training programs - about the same amount that the mining tax has been written down by this year alone - and yet again failing to lift Newstart.

"I hear so many stories of people living day to day in casual jobs, worried sick that they'll end up on Newstart and knowing that, with those support payments so low, it's harder than ever to get back into the workforce.

"Instead of putting the economy ahead of people's needs, the Greens want to see an economy that cares for people, and we're once again calling on Wayne Swan to defer his surplus target or at least pay for a $50 a week increase in Newstart by cutting the multi-billion dollar handouts to polluters, putting in place a proper mining tax or looking at a range of long-term revenue and savings measures the Greens have put forward."

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt MP, said "This is a political surplus, built on the back of cutting single parent payments and research funding, while wealthy miners pay less tax than expected."

"There is almost $300 million less for students, over $800 million in cuts to skills, training and apprenticeships and over $750 million in cuts to universities, especially for research. These cuts will make it harder for Australia to increase productivity."

"The $499 million cut to the Sustainable Research Excellence program is a major attack on the research capacity of our top universities. Given our future prosperity will be built on science and research, this enormous cut to research cannot be justified and is a false economy.

"We need to plug the holes in the mining tax so that we can secure Australia's skills and research future."

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