22 March 2017
Transcript - #2017041, 2017

Doorstop interview, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Omnibus Bill; The Turnbull Government’s plan for more affordable childcare; Turnbull Government’s Enterprise Tax Plan to drive economic growth

QUESTION:

What can you tell us about the Omnibus Bill? Is the Government planning to reverse some of the welfare changes that it had been planning?

TREASURER:

Last year, we were able to secure some $22 billion worth of Budget improvement measures after the election. That was a significant achievement and I don’t think most people thought that could be achieved. And so, the Government has got a track record of just getting results and working with the Senate in particular, work with the Senators to ensure that we’re able to get outcomes for the Australian people. Now, the outcome we’re continuing to work on is to ensure that important changes to childcare, that make childcare more affordable for Australian families so they can work, so they can go do interviews, so they can get out there and participate in our growing economy. We’re going to get that paid for and we’ve always said that to make those changes, to make that $1.6 billion in additional investment in our childcare sector in making it more affordable, that has to be paid for. That’s how you get the Budget back to balance, but it’s also how you introduce and implement important changes. That’s our goal, that’s our focus and that’s the outcome we’re seeking and we’ll continue to work with the Senate.

QUESTION:

What welfare savings would you dump?

TREASURER:

Well, we’ve already made it clear Lane, the package of savings that we’ve been putting up in that Bill, these are savings we should have been pursuing for some years now and the Labor Party has been saying to the Australian people that taxpayers should be paying more to fund a higher welfare bill. We think, the welfare bill in this country needs to be brought under control and the Labor Party doesn’t agree. They think the welfare bill should just be able to run away and continue to leave the country in deficit and to increase the debt. We don’t agree with that. We think that savings need to be made to ensure that important changes like childcare can be paid for and that’s what we’ll continue to pursue and we’re working closely with the Senate in terms of the savings measures that are necessary to, at the very least, achieve that and for the purpose of getting the Budget under control from a welfare perspective then there are measures there that we’ll continue working with them on.

QUESTION:

So, Treasurer, is this a concession that you won’t be able to achieve the $6 billion in welfare cuts? Maybe the $1.6 billion which would fund the childcare package?

TREASURER:

It’s the Labor Party’s decision to actually stop the Government making savings which gets the welfare bill under control. That’s the Labor Party’s decision. It’s the Labor Party’s decision to say that they think small businesses should be paying more tax and they need to be held accountable for that. We wouldn’t be even having to put these matters to the crossbench if it wasn’t for the fact that the Labor Party wants Australians to pay more for welfare and the Australian people who go and work for small businesses should be under greater pressure because the employers they work for, the Labor Party wants to pay higher tax. We’re a practical government, we’ve demonstrated that, we work with the Senate that the Australian people have elected and we’ve been very upfront with the Parliament about the savings measures that we believe are necessary and they will ultimately make a decision on those. We’re a practical government. We’ll just get on with it.

QUESTION:

And do you have the childcare package across the line today in a deal with the crossbench?

TREASURER:

These are matters that we’re working through with the Parliament and the Parliament is meeting in the day and meeting again over the next week and we’ll continue to pursue that outcome that I set out. The outcome we want is to ensure that Australian families have more affordable childcare and that we achieve that without driving up debt and driving up deficit. Now, I think these are both important objectives that the Australian people expect us to deliver on and that’s the outcome we’re working to achieve.

QUESTION:

Just on company tax cuts, would you separate a move on small businesses up to $10 million first?

TREASURER:

There’s always been two parts to the package Lane. There has been the longer term glide path for all companies down at 25 per cent and there’s been a change to the definition of small business. And the change to the definition of small business would mean that companies with a turnover of up to $10 million would not only get the reduced company tax rate of 27.5 per cent but they would also get access towards the small business tax concessions: pooled depreciation, instant asset write-off, GST done on a cash basis, those sorts of things. That will be the single biggest tax reform for small business that we’ve seen in a very, very long time. It’s twice the level of turnover that was recommended in the Henry Tax Review. The Henry Tax Review that the Labor Party just put in the bin. So, even at least that change, it will have achieved more out of the Henry Tax Review than the Labor Party even considered – let alone attempted. On the broader plan, on company tax, we remain absolutely committed to the fact that we want to see company taxes across the board at a lower level down to 25 per cent to ensure that Australian businesses can remain competitive and they have the confidence to invest for the future which creates jobs. That’s our policy. The Labor Party used to believe it, now they’re opposed to it. And I’ll tell you why they’re opposed to it. It’s not that they don’t think it’s true, it’s not that they don’t think all of a sudden that what they have preached for years and practiced under Paul Keating is good policy. It’s just populist, destructive politics from Bill Shorten. Bill Shorten’s job, he thinks, is to try and destroy the Budget, talk down the economy and stop the Government’s efforts to achieve savings which fixes the fiscal mess that his Labor colleagues and he himself left to this Government. Now, that’s what he thinks actually gets him support in the community, running around with a stop sign on everything. The Labor Party, frankly, have not said one thing since they’ve been in Opposition on one policy that would create one job that will encourage a business to invest one dollar, not one thing. These guys are a bunch of wreckers. Thanks.