8 May 2018
Transcript - #2018072, 2018

Interview with Sandra Sully, Channel 10

Subjects: Budget 2018

SANDRA SULLY:

Fresh from delivering his Budget speech, we're joined now from Canberra by the Treasurer Scott Morrison. Treasurer thanks for your time.

TREASURER:

Pleasure.

SULLY:

Certainly looks like an election Budget. You've splashed the cash right across the board. Clearly you've money to burn.

TREASURER:

Well our expenditure, the real growth in expenditure above inflation is the lowest level of any government in more than fifty years. It's coming down as a share of the economy. We're keeping taxes under control under a clear speed limit that we've set. The Budget is going back into balance, into surplus, and staying there over the next ten years. We've turned the corner on debt and that means that we'll be paying down debt now over $30 billion over the next four years and over $230 billion in paying down debt over the next ten years.

SULLY:

Well the global economy is certainly on your side. You talk about the surplus in 2019-2020, let's face it, it's wafer thin. That illegal tobacco crack-down will dictate whether you can actually deliver it.

TREASURER:

Well we've always not overstated these things, Sandra. We've been very clear about the forecast. We've been very clear about the nature of these estimates, and that's why I've said it's a modest return to balance one year early. But 2020-2021 is the year we've consistently said, for the last three years, that we would have a Budget back in surplus and that's what we've done again tonight, and that's one of the key reasons we've been able to retrain our AAA credit rating. One of only ten countries to do so under difficult circumstances because we've been so credible in our estimates in our forecasts.

SULLY:

You're also predicating all of this on passing those big tax cuts in the Senate. What if it doesn't go through?

TREASURER:

Well the tax cuts, corporate, that's worth just $1.3 billion over the next four years, so that is where that measure is it. That's been sitting in the Senate for some time. But for the tax relief for middle and lower income Australians all the way through across the tax plan, which will see 94 per cent of Australians paying no more than 32.5 cents as their marginal tax rate. We believe in lower taxes. Now, we would call on the Parliament also to support lower taxes. This money belongs to Australians. They earned it, and they should keep it.

SULLY:

Last week, one of the country's leading economists Chris Richardson called on you to be prudent while the former head of the Australian Business Council Tony Shepherd urged Budget repair to be a priority, are you ignoring both of them?

TREASURER:

No, in fact Chris Richardson tonight has, I think, been very positive about what the Budget is. It wasn't quite the movie he thought it was going to be as I understand his comments were. But on top of that, I mean the Budget is coming back into balance earlier. The surpluses that we have previously estimated are larger. The turnaround point on debt has come forward a year earlier, and we're paying down that debt. We're keeping taxes under control as well as expenditure under control. So I'd say that we're staying very much with that plan that has been recommended.

SULLY:

One of your predecessors Peter Costello would disagree based on comments in the last two days.

TREASURER:

Well, no, he hadn't seen the Budget when he made those comments. That was done before the Budget.

SULLY:

It's fair to say you looked after older Australians and those on low to middle income. This has all hallmarks, you must admit, of an election Budget.

TREASURER:

It's a Budget that's designed to create a stronger economy and ensure that that stronger economy is investing in guaranteeing the essential services Australians rely on, keeping Australians safe. It's there backing in business to create even more jobs. I mean more than a thousand jobs have been created every day over the last year and that means more people are getting off welfare and into work. That's what our plan is being designed to achieve and it's achieving it and we need to stick to that plan so the benefits can extend to all Australians.

SULLY:

Scott Morrison thanks for your time.

TREASURER:

Thanks Sandra. Good to be with you.