8 May 2018
Transcript - #2018067, 2018

Interview with Mark Riley, Channel 7

Subjects: Budget 2018

MARK RILEY:

Scott Morrison, thanks for joining 7 News.

TREASURER:

Thanks Mark.

RILEY:

What is the theme of this Budget?

TREASURER:

A stronger economy. It's a stronger economy because that's what we deliver. The tax relief that we're able to provide, which we are in this Budget, it delivers the essential services that Australians rely on. It delivers the safer Australia measures that we have. It delivers more jobs. A stronger economy is what guarantees it all.

RILEY:

Why pay the $530 tax offset in a lump sum, what's the theory there?

TREASURER:

Because that means we can provide all of that tax relief and target just to those at those lower and middle income levels. If you played around with rates and thresholds then those benefits would go all the way up the income chain. Now, this means we can focus it right on those. What we're talking about here, is we're talking about one quarter's electricity bill and even more in some of the smaller states. We're talking about half a dozen filling up your tanks of gas. This is a real boost for households, particularly for those on middle and low incomes.

RILEY:

And people do like that tax cheque, but people on higher incomes have to wait a little bit longer, that's fair?

TREASURER:

Well they do and we said this would be affordable. We said it would be responsible. We said we would start with middle and lower income earners first and that's what we've done. But we've set out a whole plan here, over seven years, and where it ends is that 94 per cent of Australians will face no higher than 32.5 cents in the dollar tax. You can work your entire working life now, under that plan and you'll never see bracket creep again in your life.

RILEY:

Does it make it easier for you now to sell corporate tax cuts now that you're deliver tax cuts to workers?

TREASURER:

Well, I think it provides a further plank of what the Government's broader tax policies are and I'm sure that will be welcomed by those in the Senate. But more importantly, I think it'll be welcomed by those who need to buy that new washing machine.

RILEY:

Sure, but they'll also feel like they're getting the benefit of the recovery and not just corporate Australia.

TREASURER:

Well that's right. I said last year that those lower and middle income earners will be getting a tax cut before large companies and that's what has happened.

RILEY:

Alright, an earlier surplus and you're starting to pay down debt.

TREASURER:

That's right, from this year in fact, we start paying down debt as we go into next year's Budget and we will see the debt reduced by almost $250 billion over the next decade. It will be down $30 billion over the next four years. We're paying down debt; we've turned the corner on debt. This is something we've been working towards now, ever since we were first elected.

RILEY:

Labor will still accuse you of not spending enough on education and health.

TREASURER:

Labor always will want to spend more and more and more of people's money. But the way they do that is that they tax them more and more and more. We have a tax speed limit. We think there is a limit to too much tax. Too much tax is too much tax. We get that.

RILEY:

What's your message to Labor though about these tax cuts, you want them to support them in the Parliament?

TREASURER:

We want them to back tax relief for Australians. The economy is improving and all Australians should share in that. For many they would say "I haven't felt it yet", well here's an opportunity to back the Government to deliver something very real for Australians who are working hard, paying taxes, they deserve some relief and here it is.

RILEY:

If the recovery goes even better than expected and more money comes into the Budget, this seven year plan might become a five year plan?

TREASURER:

I think there is the potential for that. I mean, what you're talking about there is an even stronger economy can deliver even more for Australians. What we've done is we've got the surplus back to 1 per cent of the economy over the medium term, we've kept taxes under the speed limit, we've been able to bring forward the year that it goes back into balance, we've got turning the corner on debt. You do all of that, an even stronger economy, you can do more.

RILEY:

There's a bit of money here, but if you're not Santa Claus who are you?

TREASURER:

I'm just good old ScoMo, mate, Sharks supporter.

RILEY:

Thanks for joining 7 News.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot.