6 May 2016
Transcript - #2016081, 2016

Doorstop interview – North Lakes, QLD

SUBJECTS: 2016 Budget - A National Plan for Jobs and Growth; Ten year enterprise tax plan; Bill Shorten's all politics, no plan budget-in-reply; Bill Shorten and Labor's attacks on small business

LUKE HOWARTH:

Well ladies and gentleman, I'm Luke Howarth – Federal Member for Petrie. I want to welcome the Treasurer of Australia, the honourable Scott Morrison to the Petrie electorate. He's visited us many times here and I want to welcome him to Bowmaker Realty. Bowmaker Realty of course is a great local business - it's employing a lot of people in this area and has a lot of growth in the last few months. It's the sort of business that's providing jobs for the constituents of my electorate, which is the single biggest issue in this area – jobs. People want to wake up on a Monday morning and have somewhere to go, and it's the small businesses like this, that are providing jobs to people here locally. So I might at this stage just ask the owners of Bowmaker Realty, Geoff and Chris Bowmaker to come and say a few words. Thank you for having us today.

CHRIS BOWMAKER:

Thanks Luke. Thanks for your support over the years too Luke. Luke has been a major part of our business from the get go. We started about 9 years ago. My name is Chris Bowmaker and this is my father Geoff Bowmaker. It's a home-grown business, we are now employing 22 staff and the three of us family members. Without the support of the Government to help us employ local employees, we would really be stuck. Obviously as a small business we have cash flow issues and the Budget announcements for the tax write off will really help us. We have ten company cars for example and every time we employ a new property manager we look to acquire a new one – so that will help us greatly. So I think that's probably all I want to say about us.

HOWARTH:

Thanks for having us. Treasurer

TREASURER:

Well thanks Chris and Geoff and Luke, it's great to be here back in Petrie. This business has a turnover of more than $2 million a year. It employs 22 people. It is typical of businesses between $2 million and $10 million turnover. The average number of employees of a business between $2 million and $10 million in this country is 22. That's how many people work right here in this business and they've put 6 people on in the last twelve months. There are 100,000 businesses like this one and they employ 2.2 million people around the country, and Bill Shorten says, 'they're not a small business, they're not the sort of company that we need to be backing in to grow our economy.'

As Chris was just saying to me in the other room, if you want to go and help Australians, you've got to help the Australians who are helping those Australians, and that's small businesses like this and medium-size businesses. Small and medium-size businesses that are going to be at the core of driving growth and jobs in this country.

We outlined on Tuesday night a national economic plan for jobs and growth and at the centre of that plan was backing in small businesses like this one here. Small businesses like the one I was at earlier in the week down at Lintek in Queanbeyan. Another business between $2 million and $10 million. Bill Shorten says they've got nothing to offer, they're not part of the plan, they're not deserving of the sort of tax relief that ensures that they can go and employ people and purchase the equipment that they need to go and drive their business.

Now we disagree with Bill. Bill thinks that this company we're sitting in is the Commonwealth Bank. He thinks it's some large multinational. Bill's dreaming. He doesn't get it. He doesn't understand what is driving our economy.

What we saw last night was all politics and no plan. What you've got here is the prime example of why it's so important to provide the sort of tax relief by reducing the tax rate for companies like this one here between $2 million and $10 million a year, with just 22 employees. So I'm very pleased to be here and very pleased to see what's happening here.

Also, I met Holly who's working here. Holly is part of a traineeship program that they're running here at Bowmaker and she's exactly the sort of person that we want to see get more opportunities in the future, and that's why we announced our youth job PaTH program on Tuesday night which is going to connect up local young people with local small business employers like Bowmaker here and put them together and give them greater support to have that opportunity. It's great that it's already happened here, but it can happen in so many more businesses if we can just get those young people and those businesses more together by supporting the businesses who take them on, and supporting the young people to get to the starting line so they can have that opportunity.

I was terribly disappointed last night that the Labor Party chose not to support that plan. That they actually walked away from a plan that can really help young people in small businesses. But I suppose if you don't even know what a small business is and you don't even know how the economy is driven by those small businesses, then I shouldn't really have been surprised. So we have a national economic plan for jobs and growth. It is to back in businesses like Bowmaker here or Lintek or Modular Walls in my own electorate back in Sydney - and it's to ensure that they can continue to put people on in the way that we've set out in our plan. So it's wonderful to be here and thank you all for coming along.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, starting locally. How do you feel about the State LNP's leadership spill and how it will detract from [inaudible] …

TREASURER:

They're matters for them, I'm here to talk about a national economic plan for jobs and growth and I'm sure they'll attend to their issues. We're attending to our issues, our job and my job is to deliver a strong national economic plan for jobs and growth in a stronger new economy. Now that was set out on Tuesday night, it's set out the challenges we face with the transition of the economy from the resources investment boom through to a more diversified economy and lifting up and supporting businesses like this one here, that's our path to jobs and growth. That's the path that we're putting the country on with our national economic plan and our colleagues at a state level I'm sure will address their issues.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, John Fraser has confirmed that ten year tax cuts will cost about $48 billion.

TREASURER:

That's right.

QUESTION:

Why didn't you put that in the Budget? Was it because you didn't want to give it to Bill Shorten to use as savings? And how confident are you given that Mr Fraser has said that the three year costings are going to be much easier to work out than the ten year ones?

TREASURER:

Well, as Penny Wong said, and I said this in the Parliament yesterday, it is never the practice to put in 10-year costings figures in the Budget papers. What you do is all of the measures are incorporated in the medium term protections on the underlying cash balance and that's what's in the Budget, which is what the Prime Minister referred to yesterday, and which I referred to yesterday.

Now I wasn't going to do Bill Shorten's homework for him it's for him to actually put out his plan. Estimates was always going to be today and last night I authorised the Treasury Secretary to provide that information in the public interest. But Bill Shorten's got to do his own homework. Earlier in the week he'd shown he'd got his homework wrong and he had a $20 billion black hole in his tobacco excise costings, and as a result, that's $20 billion that he no longer has. But what we haven't seen from Bill Shorten yet is what is his 4-year estimates? I mean when you put a Budget together, you've got to do it over 4 years. I haven't heard one 4-year costing from Bill Shorten yet. If he had to do a Budget tomorrow he wouldn't be able to do it because he hasn't given you one number he could actually put in a Budget. That's why last night it was all politics, it was all personal, it was all ideology, that's not a national economic plan. What you saw on Tuesday night was a national economic plan for jobs and growth.

QUESTION:

You talked about the uncertainty of those 10-year projections, if they turn out wrong would you be prepared to abandon the full 25% drop?

TREASURER:

Well 10-year projections are exactly that and the Treasury Secretary I think has been outlining the sensitivity around those numbers. That's why you don't have a Budget which provides estimates over 10 years. You do it over 4 years. You obviously include them in your medium term projections when you look at what the underlying cash balance will be over a long period of time and that's exactly what we've done and it shows that those revenue changes have been accommodated within the Budget's medium term outlook. So that's a positive thing. So we've done the homework, we've done the numbers and they all add up and they're all there. In authorising the Treasury Secretary today to do something which is not regular, it's not regular to provide line estimates on 10-year figures, what you need to do every year is continue to calibrate your budget, which is what the whole process is designed to do. But we're confident in the estimates that have been provided but they're obviously subject to the sensitivities.

Now the other point he made today was, and I made the same point during the week, our enterprise tax plan, our 10-year enterprise tax plan, will lift growth in the economy, will lift the economy by a full 1%. That's, in today's dollars terms, $16 billion just now. And so it will boost real wages. That's the work the Treasury's done as well. So you do need a 10-year plan on all of these things but you also need to frame your Budget for 4 years as well and we have not seen a 4-year estimate on anything from Bill Shorten. I will tell you why. The reason he won't do it is because his numbers don't add up over the next 4 years. He's got to blow it out over 10 years. What we saw last night was more than $100 billion in more taxes. Bill Shorten's plan is $100 billion in more taxes and the reason he's doing that, the reason he's doing that is he can't control his spending. It was a 29-minute speech, $100 billion in new taxes in just 29 minutes. That must be some sort of a record.

QUESTION:

In relation to his crackdown on registered training organisations, do you think that's a pretty good measure considering we have seen lots of roting in the industry?

TREASURER:

Well, we'll take a close look at what he's proposed there. I mean for example, the Government has been working closely with the opposition on things like aged care for many years now and there's been a bipartisan approach to changes in the aged care sector, which I think has been positive and some of the further changes in aged care that are in this Budget enjoy the support of the opposition as well. So where there are improvements that can made, well of course the Government will always look at that. But the thing that we've got to be careful about is we have a vocational education system in this country which actually works by having both a private and public sector model working in tandem. Now, that is important, that those sectors continue to perform and there are many, many jobs that are tied up in the private education industry, particularly here in Queensland and if Bill Shorten is going to pull the rug out from under the private education industry, well this is one of our growth sectors. This is one of our sectors that is servicing the needs, not only of our domestic economy but is also becoming an important foreign exchange earner through its recovery in recent times. So you've got to get the balance right on that as well. But we didn't see this plan from him last night. It was just all politics. It was just all tired, old politics. We did just get just another reply from the opposition Leader laden with politics last night. That's all it was. It wasn't an economic plan.

QUESTION:

[inaudible] the Budget delays national disaster funding to Queensland by 12 months, it's $1 billion. Why is it fair to delay the natural disaster funding to Queensland?

TREASURER:

I don't understand, that that's how it's characterised, and of course when we work through the estimates of the Budget it's very important that we liaise closely with our State and Territory colleagues in ensuring that the appropriate support is provided when it's needed and Australians, I think, would have no doubt, and Queenslanders can be absolutely reassured, that where there is a need to support Queensland or those affected by disaster or things of this nature, they will get that support. That has always been the Australian way. It is always delivered and I don't think there's any question about the Government's readiness at a federal or State level or at any level to ensure that if there are things that need support immediately in relation to disasters that occur outside of our control that that support will be forthcoming. I have absolutely no doubt about that whatsoever and the Budget provides for that.

QUESTION:

The mid-year financial review says the money should be due by June 30, it's been pushed back the 16/17, 17/18.

TREASURER:

I've already answered the question, there will be no issues.