3 May 2016
Transcript - #2016068, 2016

Interview with Hugh Riminton, Network Ten

SUBJECTS: Budget 2016

RIMINTON:

Mr Morrison congratulations on your first budget.

TREASURER:

Thank-you Hugh.

RIMINTON:

Now for all the promises though of economic leadership, and that was what Malcolm Turnbull offered as the key reason topping Tony Abbott, the one big idea in this budget seems to be to cut taxes on small business, what are you going to be relying on that tax cut to do for the economy?

TREASURER:

The modelling shows that they'll be a one per cent increase in GDP as a result of the tax plan we put forward tonight in the budget. That's $16 billion. And this is what we've always been focused on Hugh, this is a national plan for growth and jobs, a national economic plan. This is not another budget. We don't need just another budget, with our transitioning economy we need this national economic plan. And backing in small business, backing in middle-income earners, is very important in ensuring we continue to growth we've been able to achieve.

RIMINTON:

Ok well it is another budget on one important measure in that once again we've got deficits as far as the eye can see. For those voters who turned to the coalition in 2013 because they bought the line that Labor was nothing but a debt and deficit disaster, are the entitled to be disappointed that there are still budget deficits all the way through the forward estimates in this budget.

TREASURER:

Well the deficit reduces to just $16 billion down from $39 billion over the budget forward estimates down to 0.3% of GDP…

RIMINTON:

We have heard that before though Treasurer as I'm sure you understand…

TREASURER:

And particularly since the mid-year statement we've been able to take people on exactly the same trajectory that I outlined when I took up this job late last year. And so we stay on the path, and we've moderated the forecasts for economic growth, and I think we've been far more up front and honest about the real conditions of the economy and what will impact on revenues in the future.  So I think it's a very credible plan to balance the budget, for the government to live within its means. We're not spending any more than we save, in fact we're actually contributing in gross terms to the bottom line, an extra $3 billion to reduce that deficit as a result of direct policy measures, over and above what is already locked in the forward estimates from the decisions we've taken over the last two budgets.

RIMINTON:

So is our AAA credit rating safe?

TREASURER:

Well I think this economic plan shows that we take the issues of debt & deficit very seriously, that's why we haven't spent more than we save, that's why we're not putting the $100 billion tax burden on the economy, in addition to what is already projected as the Labor party is proposing to do. You don't protect and grow your economy by whacking a big tax burden on it, in the way Labor is doing. That's not a plan for growth and jobs at all.

RIMINTON:

OK well you are taking some tax burden off those earning over $80,000 a year. That's just above average weekly total earnings at the moment so people on above average earnings get a tax cut, how do you think that's going to go over?

TREASURER:

What we're doing is we're ensuring the middle-income tax bracket remains so for people on average full time earnings, what this does, ensures that those who would otherwise move into the second highest tax bracket, if you're on an average full time earning, yet you would remain in the middle income tax bracket with other average wage earners, and that's an important thing, and it impacts 500,000 people every single year. Now we're not claiming this is some big value of money in people's pockets, but what it says to them is where we can afford to do it we will ensure that if you earn more, we won't tax you more, and people know that where you have an opportunity we'd rather have a dollar in your pocket than put it in the Government's pocket.

RIMINTON:

Briefly Treasurer what would you like to say tonight to Australian smokers?

TREASURER:

Well we would like you to stop smoking, and that's what I think a lot of people are trying to do, what we know is that the revenue that we raise from the tobacco excise increase, first of all there's not a $20 billion black hole as Labor has on their costings, that we'll be re-investing that revenue in small business and those on middle-incomes to ensure that we can grow our economy. But it's a measure trying to discourage people from smoking in the future, and particularly younger people from taking it up.

RIMINTON:

Now the Australian people of course get their say in just two months, is this an election winning budget do you think?

TREASURER:

Well it's not about that, it's about a national economic plan for jobs and growth, for a stronger new economy and to support the momentum of an economy that's transitioning. People say they didn't want just another budget, what they wanted was a national economic plan and that's exactly what we've delivered tonight.

RIMINTON:

Ok, Treasurer Scott Morrison thank-you.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot Hugh.