Abbott warns Swan not to target ‘productive’ industries in budget

Opposition leader Tony Abbott says the government should not target “productive” industries such as the mining sector in its attempts to reach a surplus in this year’s budget.

Yesterday Treasurer Wayne Swan predicted cuts to government programs in the May budget to deliver the promised surplus for 2012/13.

“If you’re going to be hitting people, don’t hit productive people,” Abbott told the Nine Network.

“I think if the government is serious about taking burdens off people it wouldn’t be going ahead with the carbon tax.”

But Abbott says Swan should cut government spending to achieve a surplus.

“Every year the treasurer talks tough about how it’s going to be a really, really difficult budget and every year he basically squibs the hard decisions,” Abbott said.

“This is a government that is inevitably tough on families because it won’t be hard on its own spending,” he said.

But Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten told the Seven Network today the Liberal Party had no right to criticise the government about surpluses – referring to the government’s claim that the opposition has a $70 billion gap in its budget estimates.

“Getting a lecture from you guys about surplus is like getting a lecture from cannibals on vegetarian cooking.” 

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