9 May 2017
Transcript - #2017075, 2017

Channel Seven, Mark Riley

SUBJECTS: Budget 2017

MARK RILEY:

Scott Morrison, thanks for joining us.

TREASURER:

Thanks, Mark.

RILEY:

The zombie measures – dead? Buried? Cremated? Gone?

TREASURER:

Well, it’s a budget reset. I mean, we’ve taken those savings as far as we could. We’ve tried to get them through the Parliament. We’ve got $25 billion through, but the remaining measures have been reversed, and yet we still have kept our projection for a balance in 2020-21 of $7.4 billion.

RILEY:

You talk about easing the cost of living pressures, but there’s a new tax in there. The Medicare levy’s been increased to pay for the NDIS. I know you say it’s about choices, but your choice is an $8.2 billion tax increase.

TREASURER:

Well in 2019-20 we have a funding gap for the NDIS. We’ve also sought to pay for that, through savings measures and that’s been rejected by the Senate, and we cannot say to people struggling with disability in this country that we can’t fully fund the NDIS. We have to pay for it and we have to give them that guarantee and that’s what this does. I think Australians are very fair minded about this. This is about supporting people with serious disabilities and ensuring that they can have a quality of life that would otherwise avoid them.

RILEY:

The other tax, the bank tax, we’re talking about another $6 billion there. How do you stop the banks from passing that on to customers?

TREASURER:

Well, it’s not a tax on deposits. It’s not a tax on mortgages. It’s a tax on their liabilities of doing business with other banks…

RILEY:

They’ll still try to pass it on.

TREASURER:

… and the ACCC will have special resources and monitoring powers to ensure that the banks have to be honest about what they’re doing with their pricing. But the banks can make their contribution to budget repair, and they must do that in this Budget.

RILEY:

Alright, so tax revenues will increase by 7.8 per cent next year, spending increases by three per cent. Tax and spend – this is what you railed against, you don’t like tax and spend budgets.

TREASURER:

Well spending over the forward estimates is less than two per cent growth. Now that is tight. At 25 per cent of the economy, that’s the lowest level at the end of the forward estimates we’ve seen in a long time. So we’ve kept control of spending, but we have to deal with the reversal of all of those things in the Senate that they said they didn’t want to pass, but we still have to make sure the Budget balances.

RILEY:

There’s a lot of people here saying that this is the sort of Budget they’d expect from a Labor Treasurer. Is that slur or is that a compliment?

TREASURER:

Well, the difference between a Liberal Budget and a Labor Budget is that we pay for the things that we do. The Labor Party never pays for anything; they just send the bill to future generations.

RILEY:

And you hope that all this gets through the Parliament? It’s all measured towards getting through the Parliament?

TREASURER:

We reasonably believe that we can put this forward to the Parliament. We’ve listened carefully. We’ve reversed those other measures and we’re asking the Parliament to meet us in the middle on this, particularly when it comes to supporting Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, greater funding for schools. This is the Budget that’s making the right choices to secure what I believe are the better days ahead.

RILEY:

Well good luck with the sales job and thanks for joining us.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot.