24 March 2017
Transcript - #2017045, 2017

Doorstop Interview, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Council on Federal Financial Relations; The Turnbull Government’s plan for more affordable childcare

QUESTION:

If we start off with the Treasurer’s meeting this morning, the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas says that this Federal Government needs to do more to solve the housing affordability crisis. What are you going to bring to the table?

TREASURER:

The Budget is in May, we’ll be addressing issues of housing affordability in the May Budget, looking forward to discussions today with the states and territories and getting an update on the measures that they’re taking in this area and then ultimately we want to be able to encourage the states and territories to be unlocking the supply of housing, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. I acknowledge the work that is already being done in New South Wales and Victoria, and we need to address the ways that we can continue to improve that.

QUESTION:

Is capital gains tax something that could be on the table?

TREASURER:

They are matters for the Commonwealth Government and the Budget will be in May and it will address our housing affordability package, we haven’t been engaging in any speculation on these issues, others have in the public realm which is fairly par for the course in Canberra at this time of the year, but the Government will be outlining its measures in May.

QUESTION:

Can you give us a sense of what your actual goal is going into these talks? No one actually seems to say what they want in terms of housing affordability. Do you want prices to come down, or do you just want to curb the growth?

TREASURER:

We want to put downward pressure on the challenges facing Australians who are seeking to buy a home, and we want to put downward pressure on the challenges facing Australians right across the board who have struggled with rental affordability, those who through life circumstances find themselves dependent on public housing, social housing and indeed those who find themselves homeless. This is a comprehensive agenda the Commonwealth is working on, right across the board, and we’re doing that, I think, in a positive and engaging way with the states and territories – that is one of many issues we’ll be dealing with today. Today’s meeting with the treasurers is a very workman like meeting, it is a range of issues we’re dealing with, everything from competition policy, we’re having some very good early discussions about consistency and uniformity, about online gambling, taxation and harm minimisation and other measures that relate to that. It’s a constructive agenda, it’s the sort of agenda I think Australians would hope that treasurers would be focusing on. There’s a lot of the everyday about the jobs of treasurers that we’re focusing on today and they’re the things that ultimately lead to the better running of our states and of course the Commonwealth.

QUESTION:

People should not expect to see house prices come down over the next two to three years?

TREASURER:

The Government’s housing affordability package will be delivered in May. So you’ll have the opportunity to critique it then.

QUESTION:

Can I just ask you about the childcare measures that went through last night, the industry isn’t thrilled by some of these changes, they were hoping for some amendments in particular around the activity test. What do you say to those vulnerable families who could miss out on two days of care now?

TREASURER:

This is the most significant set of changes to childcare in many years, being the minister who first pulled the proposal together, for the 15/16 Budget I’m very pleased that families on low incomes are now going to get an 85 per cent rebate on what these costs are but we finally now have a price signal out there as part of the package which keeps the pressure down on the growth in childcare arrangements. Childcare is being delivered for families who want to get out there and find work, and be in work, and increase their hours of work and this package actually supports them to do that. The package retains the two days of access to childcare for those on very low incomes. When my kids go to school every day, they go to school for six hours, they don’t go to school for 12 hours every day and the idea that you need 48 hours, or 24 hours, or two lots of 12 hours to make up that position, that’s, I think, a good reform we’ve put in place and we want to make sure our children have good access to early childhood education. This is called a Jobs for Families Package for a reason, it’s a package which is delivering affordable childcare for families who are out there working hard, to try and make it just that bit easier for them.