pm flags tax cuts

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    PM flags tax cuts
    From: By Nicki Bourlioufas
    December 05, 2005

    THE Federal Government is ready to give Australians tax relief for the fourth straight year with the Budget surplus swelling with soaring corporate profits.

    Prime Minister John Howard has told the ABC his Government is ready to give tax relief as long as core expenses are met. The Budget surplus for 2005-06 is running well ahead of forecasts.

    "Our position is very clear, and that is that we want to balance our Budget, having made proper provision for the essentials like health and education and transport, and very particularly defence," Prime Minister John Howard told the ABC.

    "If there's any left over, then we would want to reduce the tax burden.

    "We did that last time, we did it the year before and if opportunity presents itself, we'll do it again this coming year, if that opportunity presents itself," Mr Howard said.

    The Budget surplus has swelled in recent times due to booming company profits.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said today company profits before tax were up 14.8 per cent over the year to September 30.

    Profits in the mining sector especially boomed, with gross operating profits up seven per cent over the September 2005 quarter, following a 30 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

    The September rise represented the sixth consecutive quarter where growth has been over 9 per cent for the mining sector, the ABS said.

    Access Economics last week forecast a budget surplus of $11.7 billion for the 2005-06 financial year.

    In the next few weeks, Treasurer Peter Costello is tipped to announce an $11 billion budget surplus for 2005-06 - $2 billion more than he predicted in the budget in May.

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