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Swan spruiks Labor's economic record -

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The new Julia Gillard team showcases its economic credentials as speculation mounts it's preparing
to go to the polls.


TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: In a further sign the Federal Government is in election mode, the
Treasurer Wayne Swan has released an economic statement giving an improved outlook for the economy
and the projected budget surplus.

The figures will be used by the Government throughout the election campaign to talk up its record
on economic management, with Wayne Swan declaring Australia has dramatically lower debt than any
other major advanced economy.

He's also revealed the Government's compromise deal with the mining industry over the resource tax
has cost $7.5 billion dollars, but claims revised Treasury estimates on commodity prices mean
cutting the tax rate has left a hole of only $1.5 billion dollars.

Political editor Heather Ewart reports.

HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: Nothing like a looming election for the Government to offer a fresh take
on its economic credentials.

WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: As you know there's some appetite for some more information on the mining
tax and the outlook for commodities and of course we have a new PM. So I thought it was appropriate
to present this economic update in a comprehensive way.

HEATHER EWART: The Treasurer proceeded to unveil a list of improvements to the Government's
finances since the May budget. Including a $2 billion boost to the budget surplus in 2012-13.

WAYNE SWAN: These figures confirm we're on track to bring the Budget back to surplus in three years
and three years early. And of course that will be a surplus, or we will be in surplus before every
other major advanced economy

HEATHER EWART: That was the good news and the Treasurer had plenty more to crow about too including
the forecast of a 17 per cent increase to terms of trade next financial year to their highest
levels on record. On the way came the revelation that the Government's dealing with the mining
industry to replace the resource tax had come with a hefty price.

WAYNE SWAN: The policy change of replacing the RSPT with the new resource tax arrangements is
estimated to have cost $7.5 billion over the forward estimates if you exclude commodity price
updates. But there has also been a commodity forecast revision. This increases the revenue from the
new resource tax arrangements by $6 billion taking net revenue to $10.5 billion.

HEATHER EWART: In other words the change had left a hole of only $1.5 billion and all because the
Treasury had recalculated the value of commodities that will be taxed.

WAYNE SWAN: We did have a much more productive, informed and detailed discussion between the
Treasury and major mining companies about not just current prices and volumes but about current
prices and their likely trends over time and likely volumes over time. That lead Treasury to
upgrade substantially its forecast for commodity prices, and that's what has occurred.

Is this sustainable? The answer is 'yes'. The answer is Yes it is sustainable for a variety of
reasons. One is, even here I regard the Treasury as being cautious and conservative.

It's an explanation the Federal Opposition and the Greens are not swallowing.

ANDREW ROBB, OPPOSITION FINANCE SPOKESMAN: We've seen today that in fact it took $7.5 billion off
the original estimates and, surprise, surprise with a revised, with a revised upgrade of commodity
numbers they plugged a lot of that hole with a new $67 billion increase in revenue. It is simply
unbelievable they have been exposed as shifty, they have been exposed as duplicitous, they have
been exposed as having just a political objective in all of this.

SENATOR BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: It's now clear that the Gillard-Swan back down to the mining
barons has been a $7.5 billion disgrace. This will be ripped out of the forward estimates of the
Budget, it's not available for schools, hospitals, security.

ANDREW ROBB: It's an emergency mini budget to solve a political emergency and it fails. It is no
more than an attempted political fix to get the Labor Government through the election.

HEATHER EWART: Stranger things have happened than an incumbent government pulling out all stops in
readiness for an election and at his news conference the Treasurer was sticking to his guns.

WAYNE SWAN: What has changed is the very substantial and strong outlook for a couple of our key
commodities as we go forward. That's the truth of it.

HEATHER EWART: Campaigning in the outer Sydney seat of Lindsey today, Opposition Leader, Tony
Abbott, spelt out what the Coalition is most worried about.

ABBOTT AIDE: Marco, Counsellor Marco Malcolm.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: G'day Marco, how are you? Thanks for coming out.

TONY ABBOTT: It is typical of Labor governments to suddenly find extra money just before an
election so that they can pork barrel in marginal seats, this is the Labor practice

Pork Barrelling has never been exclusive to any particular side of politics. The Treasurer would
not be drawn on how much of the mining tax revenue might go towards election announcements.

With all Parties clearly in election mode Tony Abbott continued to try to draw attention today to
the asylum seekers issue. There was another boat arrival this morning, the second in three days,
and the Opposition Leader renewed his call for the Government to consider Naru as the site for a
refugee processing centre.

TONY ABBOTT: If she was fair dinkum about off shore processing she wouldn't be talking to the East
Timorese who don't want a centre, she'd be talking to the Naruans who do want a centre and I call
on her to pick up the phone now to the President of Naru.

CHRIS EVANS, IMMIGRATION MINISTER: The reality is that we have entered into negotiations with East
Timor. We'll be discussing how we proceed with the processing framework and the protection
framework over coming weeks with all countries in the region, so we welcome Naru's engagement with
that, but at the moment the Government's priority is to pursue a processing centre with East Timor.

HEATHER EWART: And that's the way it's going to stay. The Government is not about to play into the
Oppositions hands or add further confusion to its East Timor idea for a processing centre,
especially with an election so close.