14 May 2018
Transcript - #2018093, 2018

Paul Murray Live, Sky News

Subject: Budget 2018

PAUL MURRAY:

G'day, good evening and welcome to Brisbane. What a special edition of Paul Murray Live we have this evening. We are at the North Lakes Sports Bar. Now as you know, we are here to hear what the Treasurer has to tell, not the fellow politicians, not the pundits, not the media, not the papers, not the pollsters – but the people about what are the benefits of his plan for how the joint is going to work for the next couple of years. We are here specifically in this part of Brisbane because this is the Federal electorate of Petrie. Now, to give you some history about this area: since 1987 this electorate has voted with the party that has become the Government every time. It was there for Hawke, it was there for Keating, it was there for Howard, it was there for Rudd, it was there for, well Gillard didn't really win, did she? But anyway, and then of course in 2013 it was here for Tony Abbott and then again for Malcolm Turnbull to be returned with the Liberals in 2016. As you know the Government has a one seat majority and for them to be returned as the Government they have to win here before they start reaching beyond to be able to hold on to power anywhere else. To give you an idea of this specific area and why we are here, the average median wage in this area is $50,000, it's a pretty much split of male/female. There are about three and a half thousand businesses that are located here but the unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average. So, we expect there is plenty of things inside this room; from personal taxes, like much of the political debate has been, to all sorts of matters to do with pensions, businesses, all the rest. But, enough from me, let's introduce the man who will take the questions from the people in this room for the next hour or so. Please give it up for the Treasurer, Scott Morrison.

TREASURER:

G'day. How are you going? Are you well?

PAUL MURRAY:

Hello great man. How are you?

TREASURER:

Up up Cronulla!

PAUL MURRAY:

[laughs] Up up Cronulla? How are the Sharkies going?

TREASURER:

We had a great win on Sunday night over Canberra. I'm battling Canberra all the time, but the Sharks were battling them on Sunday night, and they got a great win. Well played.

PAUL MURRAY:

Well a bit of love for the Tigers there too, which was alright-ish. Always love when he sends me texts about the footy. So look, these people, I have no idea what they are about to ask you. Hopefully it will be fun, be interesting, hopefully the swearing will be just by the Treasurer. You know, so blue – he works very blue. But there is a couple of questions I wanted to ask just to get into this. Some of the big issues that people watching the Budget have had, including, you got more money this year than you expected to get because more people have jobs, businesses were paying more taxes because they were doing better. You made a choice not to close out the deficit faster, and if you can close out that deficit, start to pay off the debt. Why did you choose not to use the extra money? You didn't see balancing the books and paying off the beginnings of half a trillion in debt?

TREASURER:

Well the first answer to that question is that the additional revenue that has come into the Budget particularly this year and next year in additional taxes, all of that is going to the bottom line. All of that revenue in the first couple of years is going to the bottom line. What we've done over the back part of the Budget is when the taxes were growing too sharply we've said, 'too much tax is too much tax'. And you can't tax your way to paying down debt. You pay down debt. And so what we've decided to do is in those early parts of the Budget years, when that extra revenue is coming in, largely from commodity prices in the early part, but over the back part, and over the longer part of the Budget and over the medium term, where exactly as you say, the reason why the Budget is strong is for one particular reason, and that is we're getting people off welfare and into work. When you get people going from receiving a welfare check to paying taxes, that's how you get a stronger Budget. And that's what we're doing. You know, it's the twelve point turn-around. You stop the other side scoring, and you score down the other end. That's what we are doing with the Budget.

MURRAY:

Now I know that there's the ratio to GDP, there's all the other indices here, but that number of half a trillion dollars in debt is pretty easily understood by everyone, just as the advocacy for the Government of 1100 jobs a day. These are the things that are in play at the next election and Shorten getting there. What number is that half a trillion in a few years' time? Tell us, how does that start to work?

TREASURER:

Well you'll remember, people will remember that when Peter Costello and John Howard paid down the debt they paid off $96 billion of debt. Do you remember that? $96 billion dollars. That was net debt and they paid it all off. And what we're doing as a Government, and Luke Howarth is here today, the member for Petrie, and he and I, and the rest of the whole team, what we are doing, is we're paying down that net debt from now. In the last five years, wrestling debt has been trying to take down Taumalolo. You've got to get on him, and you've got to hold him and take him all the way to the ground. And that's the size of the monster of debt that we inherited from the previous Government. It was our job then to go and deal with it. From this year, we've hit that point – the turning point, where we start part paying down debt. We are no longer borrowing extra money to pay for pensions or welfare payments, or anything like that. And so net debt will fall by $30 billion over the next four years and by $230 billion and a bit more over the next ten years. Now you do that by getting people off welfare and into work. They are the numbers in the Budget, they are the numbers that are being credibly received by, you know, all sources when it comes to economics, and that's what we are doing. We are now in a position where we start paying down the debt. That's what happens when you get the Budget back into balance, and it's not easy to do it. But we've been able to get back to that position, where we no longer borrow to pay for every day expenses and now the debt is being paid down.

MURRAY:

The room's not about my questions, it's about theirs. So we'll get to that in a second. But I have to ask a selfish question as a smoker, right. On the behalf of the ever shrinking, but still, every increasingly taxed part of the population, I know that it's gone from $11 billion last year, $12 billion this year, $17 billion next year, and a lot of that's illegal tobacco, that's the hope that's going to happen, but at what point are we maxed out on how many times you can up the tax on smoking?

TREASURER:

Well the current program we've got, which is to 2020, we've got a schedule now that goes to 2020, and, yep, cigs up in this Budget again. But the good news is, beer was down, five bucks here at the bar, well done to the Sports Club, but that's where it is this year. And look, it's part of the plan that ensures that too much tax is too much tax. And we've got a speed limit on taxes in this Government and in this Budget. We've formally put a rule in that says taxes can be no greater than the speed limit, which is technically set at 23.9 per cent of the economy. The reason for that is, if you control how much you're prepared to tax, then that limits what you're prepared to spend. And a Government that's prepared to control how much it taxes is also a Government that is prepared to control how much it spends and that's how you pay off debt.

MURRAY:

Ok. Alright, thank you Treasurer. Ah let's have a chat with some people. Samuel is going to be the first one who is going to ask you a question. Mate I'll get you to stand up, and feel free to ask the Treasurer whatever the heck you want, mate.

QUESTION:

Evening, Paul. Evening, Scott. Look, I'm one of the 40 per cent of Australians who pays any net tax at all. I'm forced to forego a sizeable chunk of my income so that I can subsidise at the one end people who want to buy lots of houses but can't really afford to and at the other end, people who want to have lots of kids, but can't afford to. I'm subsidising these groups. So throw into this mix, those who seem to see Centerlink benefits not as a temporary measure but as a lifestyle choice that they make. Well, when is this going to change? When is the Government going to get its hand out of my pockets, right, and leave me to look after myself and broaden the tax burden so that it's more equitable? I'm sick to death of paying for other people's pet projects.

TREASURER:

That's a very good question. Less than a quarter of Australians who pay tax, so just under 25 per cent, pay about two thirds of the personal income tax in this country. So that's people earning more than 87 thousand dollars a year. They are less than 25 per cent of tax payers and they pay 65 per cent of the tax bill. Now, we're a country where we have a social safety net, and I think people that earn more are prepared to do their thing, and when they've had success in life, as a community, we're always prepared to share that. But, there are limits. They're not mugs either. And it's one thing for people for people to say that they should pay more and more and more tax and the people who say they should more and more tax just largely want to spend their money. And it's often people on public service salaries and things like this, or academics who have lots of ideas of how to spend your tax money. But our view is this: you know how spend your money better than the Government. And we want you to keep as much of that as possible. So the tax plan I introduced in the Budget does this: first of all, it provides real tax relief to middle and low income earning Australians of up to 530 bucks as a tax refund, in one hit you get it through your tax refund. But stage two is really important, and that actually starts straight away. We deal with bracket creep. First of all, we move the 87,000 threshold to 90,000 that happens July 1 of this year. The second step, is to move that 90,000 threshold to 120,000 in 2022/23. And then 2024/25 we abolish the 37 cent tax threshold completely. So we have lower, fairer, and simpler taxes. It means that by the end of our plan, 94 per cent of Australians will pay a marginal tax rate of no greater than 32.5 cents in the dollar. That means that for most Australians, who will earn over their lifetime somewhere between 40,000 and up to 200,000 they will never face bracket creep again, over their entire working life. That means that every extra dollar they earn, every extra hour they get every extra shift they do, every extra bit of overtime they do as a policeman or a nurse or a policewoman, they don't have to pay the Government more for it, than they otherwise would. And that's why we have announced a full plan. Our tax plan is a full plan and people are saying to me "oh why don't you break it up". Well you can't bake a cake if you only do the first half of the recipe. It won't give you a full cake. You need the full recipe to have lower, simpler, and fairer taxes in this country, and that's what our personal plan is about.

MURRAY:

Can I just ask, as well as extension to what Samuel has just said, philosophies… I know that your philosophy has always been about pulling back spending, getting rid of debt, all of these things. But as Samuel just mentioned, if you're one these people who's just in the middle, now there's a million terms for these people who used to be Howards Battlers, and it's forgotten people, and now I think it's hard working Australians at the moment, whatever that group is, which, I think, is largely this room. Normal people, yeah. Bob, Jenny, you know, Mohammad. The point about, why should I pay for somebody to have heaps of houses and somebody to have heaps of kids. At what point, or what role do you see philosophically, Government in sending a message saying "we'll help you, but were not going to hold your hand while you make stupid choices."

TREASURER:

Yeah look I think we already had been doing that on welfare. Welfare at the moment, we have now the lowest level of welfare dependency of the working age population at any time in the last 25 years. When I left school and I left university and the decade of the economy I walked into in the 1990s, almost one in four under that Labor Government, who were of working age, were on some form of welfare payment. That's fallen to just over 15 per cent under our Government. It's one of the lowest levels of welfare dependencies we've seen. Now that's what's happening. That's a good thing. Because it means people are getting off welfare and into work. We had 415,000 people last year according to the Australian bureau of Statistics who got a job last year. That's more than a thousand jobs every day. When you get more than a thousand people every day going from receiving welfare to paying tax, that's what makes the country strong again.

MURRAY:

Alright we've got another question. Whack up as many hands as you can, and I'll move around here. They're getting stage fright because you're here. Alright we'll move it up to the back here – I have to squeeze here, sorry Treasurer.

TREASURER:

Breath in, mate.

MURRAY:

Yeah breath in! Very deep breath. Alright, stand up and have a chat to the Treasurer. What's your name?

QUESTION:

My name is Leigh and I'm from Redland Bay. I would like to know why we can no longer make a cash transaction over $10,000 without it being assumed it's of a criminal intent. Is there a war on cash?

TREASURER:

No there's not a war on cash, but we do know that for very large transactions the need to pay for it in suitcases full of cash is not the way that is necessary anymore. I mean today with the way that the system works, with how you can do things with electronic payments and all of these things mean, that we do know that cash used in large quantities is predominantly used by those who are engaging in things they shouldn't be. And, of course, there's the organised criminals activity, bikie gangs and all that, they do that, they try to pay for weddings with bags full of cash, I know that for a fact. In addition there are those who will use it for terrorist purposes and pay in cash. But then there are others who will say "well I'm going to use cash because I don't want to declare the income and you pay me in cash, and guess what; I'll give you a discount." When that's happening, you're actually ripping off a mate. It's actually not clever. It's actually not OK. And I think taxes should be lower, simpler, and fairer, but I also think they should be paid by everybody. And to make the system fair for everyone, we can't allow it up for abuse where some people will take a discount for allowing someone to else avoid tax – that's not right. I don't think that's right – I don't think that's fair. If we want taxes to be lower in this country, we've all got to pay them, but we've got to do it in a fair way where we don't rip others off. Now I know there will be certain cases where people may be legitimately using transactions with cash of 10,000and more but I'd say, you know, how many people pay 10,000 bucks in cash for a transaction. It's pretty rare, and I've got to tell you, those we know who do it often, they're not doing it to help Australians.

MURRAY:

But when we see the $10,000 bags of cash, bikies, I understand all of that, but all of us also have been to the hot bread shop that says cash only. The smaller things, smaller transactions, lunch; what's the expectation about dobbing those people in or do you have people in the tax office that go and find those people? Because obviously there are people who don't do cash only businesses whose might be right next door to a cash only business and they're getting screwed.

TREASURER:

Well I think those businesses are going to find that customers increasingly are going to be annoyed. I went to buy a pie in Blackheath in Sydney not that long ago and it was a cash only business. I had to go back down to the shop and get some, you know down to the ATM to get the money, and come back. That wasn't the greatest customer experience when these days you can use so many different ways to pay. Really what will help us deal with the black economy, and we've got a big piece on the black economy which is basically making sure people aren't abusing the tax system and trying to work outside the tax system. Australians aren't above tax any more than they're above the law, and by the way the tax is the law. So I think it's the right thing to do to have the right integrity. We're putting a lot more resources into tracking down and putting a light on that black economy. But increasingly, I think, the way the economy is working with digital transactions and payments and the cards and all of that, will mean that largely it will be what customers expect and business who don't do that, well they won't get the business.

MURRAY:

Alright, well another question quickly before the break. I've got one over here. Alright, sir, I'll come to you. What's the logo on the shirt? I like it. Norfolk Island – well done, sir.

QUESTION:

Yeah mine's about superannuation. I've got family members that have worked casually for the AEC and QEC. By working with them on a casual basis, might be when an election is on, might be for one day, might be for two weeks or something like that, they get super, it goes straight into the nominated fund from the QEC or the AEC, not personal one. If it's only a small amount, right, before you can transfer it over to your own personal super fund, it gets eaten up by taxes straight away.

TREASURER:

Well is it getting eaten up by fees? Well we're abolishing exit fees for superannuation funds. Abolished – gone. So if you've got your money in, you know this also affects young people as well. If you've got a number of jobs that they're working, and they've got money going into all sorts of different accounts. To consolidate and to get it all together and get it out, it's being eaten up by these industry funds and lots of fees. Well that's not fair. So we're getting rid of those fees, we're banning those fees. We are also going to for young people ensure that they don't have to take out this mandatory life insurance if they're under 25 for a product they didn't ask for that they're quite happy to charge you for. I mean, what's with that? That's a bit of a racket. So that's going as well. We're also abolishing fees and limiting fees, I should say, for low balance fees. So if you've got just a few thousand bucks and things like that they shouldn't be charging you excessive fees on that – that's just a rip off. And the other thing we are going to do is the tax office, using that technology, is going to start automatically reuniting people's lost super and putting it into your active superannuation account. Because when it's sitting in all these little funds, again, out comes the fee muncher and starts eating up your savings.

MURRAY:

Alright, we'll leave it there and take a quick break. Enjoy your sausage rolls ladies and gentlemen. We have the finest of cuisine available here! And I'm not joking; I actually love food like this. More in a sec!

[break]

MURRAY:

That sounds you can hear is the North Lakes Sports Club. Hello! Hello! [laughs] Kind of cool isn't it. We are here with Treasurer, Scott Morrison, on a special addition of Paul Murray Live. If you want to be part of it at home you know what to do. Let's all say it together. The hashtag is PMLive, email pmurray@skynews.com.au or jump onto the Facebook page just go searching for Paul Murray Live. So, the Treasurer is here for about an hour to take some questions. The only time he's going to be doing it, so we thank everyone for turning up and him as well for being here.

TREASURER:

Pleasure

MURRAY:

Sir, what's your question? What's your name and what's your question?

QUESTION:

My name is Sam. Good evening, Treasurer.

TREASURER:

G'day

QUESTION:

I believe that the Government's Budget is better but how are you going to sell that with the opposition, we've got unions in this area and they've already started their campaign and they're campaigning pretty hard. How are you going to sell your Budget?

TREASURER:

At the heart of the Budget is a plan for a stronger economy over the next decade. And Australians are sensible people. And, you know, the economy it's not a theory, it's what you live in. The economy over the next ten years is going to condition so many Australians choices and we want that economy to be stronger. If you have a stronger economy, as Luke Howarth knows, then you can pay for essential services like Medicare, like hospitals. I mean we are increasing hospital funding by $30 billion with agreement we've got before the State governments over the next five years. You can't do that without a stronger economy. The money just doesn't fall from some tree. So the plan is about a stronger economy so business invest more and they employ more people. That we keep taxes competitive and lower and all the things I've talked about. Investing in infrastructure here, particularly boosting the Bruce which Luke's been a big advocate for. But look, it's the stronger economy that I think Australians know, really, will help them make the choices and live the life they want to live over the next ten years. I never hear the Labor Party really talk about that. They talk about a lot of other things, but they don't talk about the thing that actually pays for everything – and that is a stronger economy. And to have a stronger economy businesses have got to be confident, they've got to be investing, they've got to be taking people on, people have got to be getting off welfare and into work and when that happens you can do great things in this country. As we have done as a country for a very long time.

MURRAY:

I just thought of a question that might be slightly uncomfortable. I'll get to it in a second, but first your questions, sir?

QUESTION:

Yeah g'day Paul. How're you going, Scotty?

TREASURER:

Good, mate

QUESTION:

Mate, my question is about foreign aid. A couple of prongs to it. First of all, can you confirm how much we're spending this year? I know it's been frozen. But can you also confirm how many countries and how much money is donated to Australia in foreign aid when we have cyclones or bushfires or terrible things going on in our country? Do any of the other countries put their hand up? And with the foreign aid spending, do you personally approve what Julie Bishop is signing off on, or is she able to go around with her check book…[inaudible]

TREASURER:

Thanks, mate. First of all, it's four billion. It is frozen over the next several years. No, we don't put our hand out when Australians are in trouble to other countries. We look after ourselves, that's what we do. We are a prosperous country. And that's what we do. And on occasion, I mean, I'm not aware of any particular support we've received from other countries in those circumstances, perhaps there's been some. But we're a country which washes its face, we look after ourselves, and that's what we've worked hard to be able to achieve as a country .The foreign aid budget overall is approved as a package of what can be spent and then of course the Minister goes through and is very, you know, specific about what programs within that are approved. Now one thing that I think Julie Bishop has done really well in foreign aid is that with a limited budget, and by that I mean it hasn't been growing in the way the Labor Party wanted to grow it, we've kept it flat, but what she's meant, is she's focused it really hard on the areas that are closest to Australia – in the Pacific for example. And where there are other threats to us in the Pacific she's kept a very keen focus on how we have been investing in that aid in our own region in particular. But the other thing she's done is this: what she's done is she's put it more into aid that is more of a hand up than a hand out. It's actually helping a lot of these countries build their own economies so that they can be more successful. Yes there's emergency aid and we do all of that as you'd expect a prosperous country to do, but the other part of the aid budget Julie has worked really hard on, is making sure that we spend it better. I mean lots of people can come here and say we're going to increase this spending or that spending but, you know, we've got to start focusing more on how we spend money in this country, just not how much. And as a government, that's what living within your means means. Here's the means, the funding for foreign aid is capped at that, it's frozen at that, and it's Julie's job to spend it the best way that she can and I think she's doing a great job.

MURRAY:

What about, I mean, in terms of foreign aid, and I know this is getting into her lane, but philosophically, places like Indonesia: so Indonesia in Arche province flog gay people in public. They've now decided they're no longer going to do that, they're going to take it behind closed doors. Now, Australia would find that behavior understandably reprehensible. We just went through a whole process about same sex marriage and about inclusive debate around all of that. I think what some people have difficulties with about foreign aid, particularly with countries like Indonesia, is does it come with a moral string attached saying "we're happy to give you that hand up, but you've got to stop flogging gay people in public."

TREASURER:

Well that is diplomats and that's what foreign ministers argue and pursue when they're having those discussions. But let me talk about foreign aid in Papua New Guinea for example. Now we have a special responsibility to Papua New Guinea more than any other country in the world. Particularity, I mean, we all know why, you go back to 1942 and what happened in the Kokoda track and the many other things that happened in Papua New Guinea at that time. We have a special relationship with Papua New Guinea. Now we spend more than half a billion dollars and more on aid to Papua New Guinea. And there's us and then there's daylight in terms of who is supporting aid in Papua New Guinea and that money is very well spent. And it's also done to help the Papa New Guinean Government focus their Budget as well, so we'll say "look we're not just going to go build a road, what we're going to do is we're going to fund maintaining the road." Because anyone can go and build a road and put a sign on it and say "yippee aren't we great." But if you can't maintain the road, guess what, you're back there, and the road's useless. And so there's a lot more practical focus and yes they do have those hard conversations, Paul, they do. But they're done discretely and privately and this is where I think, you know, Julie, as out first female foreign minister, is doing a cracker of a job.

MURRAY:

OK, any more questions? Keep the hands up. Good foreign aid unlocked a few. I'll get to those in a second. But, in the Budget, big announcements for places like QLD was the M1 and the improvement between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. $5 billion about the train line between the Melbourne Airport and Melbourne city. The only problem is there's an asterisk next to both of those which is that the state governments have to agree. How do we get to the situation where, OK, you've got $5 billion but they have to meet you half way. Can't you find a project in Victoria, that you don't need anyone's permission for, you can just actually spend the $5 billion? Because I don't know about a lot of you guys, but there seems to be a frustration amongst most people where we hear big numbers, big projects, asterisk – never going to happen.

TREASURER:

Well I think with the ones you've mentioned I think all of them will happen but, Paul, I mean there are only two projects that I'm aware of where that's actually happening. One is Western Sydney airport, because we own it, and the other one is Snowy Hydro 2 because we own it. Everything else, if you want to build a railway line in Melbourne or if you want to build a railway line in Queensland, well that's owned by the State Government and they, at the very least, have to approve it. But at the end of the day, it's their job too. And I think Australians whether they're Queenslanders here, you know $5.2 billion of new projects announced in this Budget as part of a national new projects spend of $25 billion, they just want to politicians to work it out and get it done, I think. Now that's what we've said to the Victorians when it comes to Tulla rail. That's what we've said to the Queensland Government here. I think people grow very tired of politicians pointing at each other on these projects. These are real needs. We're putting real money on the table. On the hospitals agreement for example: I mean there's $30 billion for hospitals in this new five year agreement which Greg hunt has been working on. Queensland Government hasn't signed it yet. I really encourage them to do just that. And I hope they do. I'm confident they will. New South Wales was the first to sign up – fantastic. But State governments, Commonwealth governments, we've just got to work together. I mean, there will always be one of those Governments from a different political part from the other one, but our public expects us to just get those projects done and to do our bit.

MURRAY:

OK. We've got a question up here. I'll get to you, sir. What's your name and what do you want to ask the Treasurer?

QUESTION:

Ross from Rivina, down the Gold Coast. Treasurer, one of the platforms of your Budget is the corporate tax reduction, company tax reduction. I'm concerned that the reduction doesn't come with any feasible benefit back to the normal Australian. You're happy to reduce the tax in the hope that those companies, large banks, large corporates, will employ more people, thus generating more tax via payroll tax. Can you link that reduction in tax to some trigger, that if a company increases the amount of their payroll in their profit and loss then they get a lower tax rate?

TREASURER:

Look, it's an interesting question. Look for Australia successful our tax rates have to be competitive. I mean we all know more than 40 per cent of our economy is made up of two way trade. 40 per cent. It's a lot. And those companies need to be able to compete in the world. And for them to do that, we can't hamstring them with higher taxes. I mean we will have the second highest tax rate in the world and expect our businesses to go out there and compete. And if Donald Trump gets it, if the UK get it, they're taking their tax rate to 17 per cent, OK, that's about Singapore is, if the French, if President Macron can get it and know that having a competitive tax rates helps your business, then we need to get it to, because we are leaving ourselves very open and it's a tough world, and if we don't take steps to ensure that our businesses are competitive other countries will cut out lunch. So this is about the strength and competitiveness of our business sector. And you ask "well why can't I put conditions on it". Look, I don't think Government should run business. And it's simple, I think, the proposition. If I tell businesses that as they do what they do they have to give me more money, then I don't see how that means they can invest in their business or pay their staff more or invest in training or do any of that. And what we have to do, and remember at the moment it's small and medium sized businesses that have that tax relief and that's up to businesses of up to $50 million. So they're small and medium sized businesses, they're legislated. The big companies, they're not getting them for many years under our plan. For many years. And let's not forget that by the time a bank gets the same tax cuts as all other big businesses they will have already paid $16 billion in the bank levy I put in last year's Budget. So, you know, we're evening that score at that process. But when the Government comes in and says "woah we're going to do this but you have to fill out this form this form this form and then you have to do this, this, and this", we may as well just run the business. Any you know, Government has a great way of turning a dollar into fifty cents and business has a great way of turning a dollar into a dollar fifty so I'm going with them. [laughs]

MURRAY:

Maybe it's a point of politics rather than policy, but it seems that for want of a better term, the left, is a lot better at being able to invoke pretty much what you just did then about the rest of the world. The rest of the world is doing it on same sex marriage, we should do it too. The rest of the world is doing something about climate change, we should do it too. Well if the rest of the world is cutting company tax, how come that logic doesn't seem to stick as emotional?

TREASURER:

Well it's a good point, Paul, and it used to persuade Bill Shorten and now it doesn't. So look, I don't know. That's why I just don't think he's believable on these things because he's changed his positions too much.

MURRAY:

Alright. I've got a question. Let me go over here – just I haven't been over to this side of the room before. Let's start with you, fellow smoker, hello. We had a chat before. Alright g'day mate, what's your name?

QUESTION:

Ah, Brett.

MURRAY:

G'day Brett, what do you want to say?

QUESTION:

Ah it's about the energy problems in Australia. Both sides of politics don't look at wanting to open a coal fired power plant. What can Australian people do to try to convince their governments that this is what we want?

TREASURER:

OK, well the question for those who didn't hear it was about energy and coal. At the last election here in Queensland the LNP actually had a policy to do just that. Now they were unsuccessful at that election. They were actually planning to do just do that. Where a coal fired power station is built and when it can be built, the state governments actually have a lot of responsibility for that, as you probably know. All the Queensland power generation assets are owned by the Queensland Government here in Queensland, unlike in other states.

Look frankly over the last decade, the politics of energy has completely stuffed it and we've had too many subsidies in the system and we're getting rid of the subsidies from 2020. That's what is coming out of the system. We haven't focused enough on baseload power. I'm happy for a coal fired power station to be built anywhere but I don't think it should be subsidised more than anything else. It's got to stand on its own two feet. I don't want our kids paying more for power ten years from now because I decided to subsidise some other form of energy production. And if they can make it stack up, well they should get on and do it. Where we are focused, as I said, we own the snowy hydro scheme so no one else can do what we are doing there, we have to do that. But anywhere else, and if the Queensland Government wants to build another one, they can. Or a private investor can go and do it somewhere else. I think they should be able to do that. But let's not kid ourselves that it will generate power at the same cost as the old ones because they've been fully written off. And that's why the Prime Minister and I are keen advocates of keeping the ones we've got for as long as possible. They're very important and the longer we can hold onto those, it creates more opportunity and time for other forms of energy to come in. But our National Energy Guarantee, the National Energy Security Board has already found that that will reduce household power bills by $400 dollars on average per year. That's from 2020 onwards and there'd be improvements before then but that's the official figures that they've produced. Now they're not run by us; they're owned collectively by the state and territory Governments and ourselves. We're getting rid of the subsidies, that's key!

MURRAY:

But I've got to ask. When you talk about subsidies though I mean the assumption I would imagine of many in this room is that wind is subsidised…

TREASURER:

Has been yeah.

MURRAY:

So, in 2018, what is the system now? Is it a level playing field between all of these providers, or are we still keeping all of the subsidies for wind, solar, and all of these other things that have meant that when you have $5 billion. You say, I'm going to build a train line, you the Government…

TREASURER:

Yep.

MURRAY:

… say $5 billion. We'll build a train line in Melbourne if the Victorian Government joins us. But that $5 billion could build a power plant here?

TREASURER:

Well, I mean, we don't build power plants at a Federal level. The Queensland Government could do that if they chose to [inaudible] the previous LNP Opposition was planning to do that. But Paul, at the end of the day, you've got to get rid of the subsidies. Currently there's the RET Scheme that's been in place, and I was part of the Government back with Tony Abbott then that you know, extended the RET Scheme to where we have it now. That phases out from 2020, so the subsidies come out. All those new technologies, you know they've been built up in the past. They've now got at a critical mass and the cost, which means that they can be developed and run without the need for these subsidies. What concerns me, I mean politics is always a relative thing. So we're not changing the emissions reduction target. We're phasing on the renewable energy target scheme and the credit schemes from 2020. Our opponents want to put emissions reduction target from 26 to 28 per cent, to 45 per cent, and they want to take the RET to 50 per cent. Now, that can only put power prices up. So, I think there's a clear choice. I mean I'm not gilding that. That is just the fact.

MURRAY:

But okay, so you end up with this flush of extra money this year. Things get better in 2020. A lot of things get better in 2020 the way that all of this system works. Why not take the extra billions that you've got here, and give it to every Australian as some sort of a "hang in there payment" on power bills, because well I understand all the structural things that have been done in the Budget, but I mean hand up in this room…

TREASURER:

That's what tax relief is for…

MURRAY:

…If you would like a power cut, a power bill cut.

TREASURER:

Well I've got great news for you. If you're earning less than $90,000, right, $530 will pay one quarter's power bill. One quarter's power bill. That is the tax relief that is being delivered. Now it's going to be different for different householders. But a $2,000 a year, annual power bill, is what the tax relief we're providing to lower and middle income earners will deliver. Now if it's a two income family, on average incomes, that's a half a year's power bill. And remember when we got rid of the carbon tax? That saved $500 that would otherwise have been on an annual power bill. So as a Government, we've acted on getting rid of taxes that shouldn't be on energy. We're acting to phase out the subsidies that are there currently. And we're providing tax relief, which means that people will have that $530 to meet those power costs.

MURRAY:

Okay one last question before the break. G'day, mate what's your name?

QUESTION:

Fernando from Westend.

MURRAY:

Hello brave man, have a look at the Treasurer. Tell him what you want to, what you want.

QUESTION:

Hi. Congratulations on a well delivered Budget.

TREASURER:

Thank-you.

QUESTION:

With the tax cut for companies, I can see how it helps to grow businesses and how can it create more jobs. However, I still struggle to understand how a tax cut in companies will translate into higher wages.

MURRAY:

That's a good point.

TREASURER:

Well basically like this. The more money the Government, businesses have to give the Government, the less they can invest in training, wages, investment in their own company, all of those things. Also, when they can do that, they can grow their business, which means they can also pay their staff better wages as their businesses grow. And that's basically the principle. The more we leave the money in the hands of the people who made it, the more likely it is that they're going to make more and be able to spend that on their businesses and the people who work for them, because good businesses always understand that the success of their businesses are in the people that make that business. And I particularly see that in small and medium size businesses. I was down at True Blue Glass today, down on the Gold Coast Hinterland there, with Bert Van Manen. Now that's a business that's just under about $4 million in turnover. The success of that business certainly its owner, family business, but it's also in the people who work for Bill down there and make that difference. Let me make this point also on tax before we go to the break. We've been acting on multinationals, and let me tell you how much. Each year now there is $7 billion of revenue, of sales that are being made by the multinationals now that is in our tax net. Wasn't there before. No tax being paid on it before. Now it's having tax paid on it. We introduced laws not long after I became Treasurer. Joe Hockey originally drew them up and then we got them passed through the Parliament. Labor voted against them. And we're now having almost $2 billion a year in extra tax coming in by cracking down on multinationals. Our Diverted Profits tax, which was in last year's Budget, the taxes that are being paid on Netflix and all of those other digital companies that are coming in and selling you services from offshore. It's now in the tax net. And particularly on things like that, that's GST, so that money's coming back to Queensland in hospitals and police and services. There's $6.1 billion extra in GST revenue flowing to the States and Territories from the stronger economy and the changes we've made to capture those multinationals.

MURRAY:

Alright, round of applause for the Treasurer. Plenty more in a second here. Thank-you mate, this is good this is fun.

TREASURER:

Good.

MURRAY:

Plenty more from North Lakes in a second here on Paul Murray Live.

[break]

MURRAY:

Welcome back to North Lakes. That's 45 minutes north of Brisbane. How good is this? This is fun. This is not bad. Thank you very much everyone. Special edition of Paul Murray Live here with Treasurer Scott Morrison who's answering your questions about all sorts of things to do with the Budget, and there's a thorny question that somebody couldn't wait to ask…

TREASURER:

Yep…

MURRAY:

So they did it when they were off the air, but we're going to do it again on the air. Okay? This is probably the question that deficit hawks like me and, you get annoyed when I talk about it all the time only because I talk about it all the time, the question of spending.

QUESTION:

Why are we still spending, why are we not pulling back on the spending, we see Julia giving out that stuff. Julia Gillard, Julia, oh god.

MURRAY:

I know what you're saying.

QUESTION:

Yeah. Why are we still not bringing it back so we can stop the spending, you're still spending?

TREASURER:

Well let me. Thanks for the question. I'm really glad you asked that. Growth in spending under this Government and in this Budget is 1.6 per cent. That's above inflation over the next four years. Since we came to Government in 2013 that has been an average of 1.9 per cent. That is the lowest level of growth in spending in 50 years. Now, let me tell you what was the previous Government's. For the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd Government, spending grew every year on average rule 4 per cent. Under the Howard Government, it was 3.3 per cent. Under the Hawke-Keating Government, it was slightly less than that. It was almost 3 per cent. Under the Fraser Government, it was over 5 per cent, and under the Whitlam Government they didn't have records that could run that high.

MURRAY:

[laughs]

TREASURER:

So, by getting spending growth under control, anyone who runs a business knows this. What you have to do is this, what you have to do is you've gotta get a cost curve that looks like that, and you've gotta get it to go like that. And so we inherited spending growth of 4 per cent, and we've got it down in this Budget to 1.6 per cent. And that means at the end of the four years of this Budget, our spending as a share of the economy will be below the 20 year average. It'll be down to 24.7 per cent. Now, again it's, that's like wrestling down Andrew Fifita, getting spending growth under control. You got to get on it, and you got to stay on it. And look we have, I'm not going to complain about it. We haven't had always the great help from the Senate, and the Labor Party has tried to block us all the way. But even still since the last election as Luke Howath knows, we've been able to get $41 billion of Budget savings and improvements through this Parliament. Now people said after the last election, some of you might have said it on Sky, not sure Paul. But they said nothing would happen. It would be a Government that did nothing. $41 billion in savings in other measures we've got through this Parliament, and we're going to keep going for it. And we're going to keep keeping that spending under control because that's how you pay down debt. You don't tax your way to paying down debt. That just puts an unreasonable burden on Australians. If you allow taxes to grow too high, that's why you have a speed limit. It's like a snake eating itself from the tail. That's what I think should be the image on the front of the Labor Party tax policy because that's what the economy will look like. A snake eating itself from the tail. So you keep taxes under control, and you keep spending under control. That's how you do it. If you allow yourself to just run taxes up until the never never, guess what will happen to your spending? It chases it. So keeping taxes under control keeps spending under control. And every time you hear Labor say, "no we don't need this control on taxes", you know what they're really saying is, "we don't want a control on spending."

MURRAY:

Well what about in raw dollar terms. So there are more people than ever before. The participation rate's never been higher before.

TREASURER:

Correct.

MURRAY:

The raw number of dollars going into the Federal Government is higher than it has ever been in Australian history.

TREASURER:

And the demands on what government has to deliver has also been higher than it has ever been in history.

MURRAY:

Correct. But that's the thing. When we talk about spending…

TREASURER:

Yeah.

MURRAY:

…the logic is we understand that there are more people who need to go to hospital, more people this, but…

TREASURER:

More people in aged care in particular. I mean aged care, aged care and child care are the biggest growing parts of the Budget.

MURRAY:

But the struggle for people is when they see a big raw number that's billions of dollars bigger than the big raw number last year, yet we're still in bloody deficit.

TREASURER:

Well think about the size of the economy. Over the next four years, the Australian economy will grow to being $2 trillion in value. $2,000 billion in value. Now that's significantly more than it was ten years ago, and it really does beg the question about who do you trust to run a $2 trillion economy. It's a pretty serious question. Very serious question. And so the economy's bigger. That means the services are greater, but planning for ageing is also, and maybe someone had some questions on aged care. We were just chatting up the back with Lucky Steve about ageing because his wife works in aged care. And we've all got to prepare for Australians living longer. Now I think it personally, it's a good thing that Australians are going to live ten years longer than we thought previously about a decade ago or thereabouts.

MURRAY:

I've got a young bloke who wants to ask a question. Good on ya, mate. Snappy dresser, I love it. What's your question for the Treasurer?

QUESTION:

Hi I'm Thomas Woods. I'm a student of economics at UQ, and so would we've heard previously you talk about cuts to higher education, and I was just asking, given that we've got evidence coming out of the US suggesting that the average undergraduate degree is worth about $1 million in future income over the course of a lifetime, why is it that we still subsidise on top giving out free loans to students? About half of our degrees. So why is the working class Australian paying for the future riches of champagne socialists?

MURRAY:

Well done, Son [laughs]. Well done. Middle stump. Middle stump. Sign him up.

QUESTION:

Keep that up you'll get the 8 o'clock shift on Sky.

MURRAY:

[laughs].

TREASURER:

Look out Ross Cameron.

MURRAY:

[laughs] On ya Rosco.

TREASURER:

It is true, but to go to the substance to your question. It is true that as a country we do a lot of amazing things. In this most recent Budget, I announced we were going to fund through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme a drug for Spinal Muscular Atrophy that will save a family who would otherwise have to pay $370,000 to keep their child alive, a $40 subscript. Now I say that in the same sentence about yes, we do subsidise about the cost, a bit more than that actually, of Australians going to university in this country. We're an amazing country. I think Australians can fill very proud about those sorts of things. That's not the Government giving itself a pat on the back. I think you should all give yourselves a pat on the back for these sorts of things. That's the sort of country we're in. That's the sort of country that I think when, you know, the Federation was formed over 100 years ago, or when you know, Captain Cook came around past Bate Bay there and though that'd be a great place for a rugby league down there at Cronulla…

MURRAY:

[laughs].

TREASURER:

But they said that was going to be the sort of society that we're creating. And I think that's fantastic. But we're not mugs either, and there has to be limits to this sort of stuff, and there has to be results, and there has to be responsibility taken when we received these benefits, and when we pay for them we've got to understand who does pay for them: as I said before, less than 25 per cent of Australians paying 65 per cent of the tax. So, you got to be mindful of that, and where you can provide relief for people, where you can say to people as we have in this Budget, there's a limit on how much we're going to tax Australians -23.9 per cent of the economy. We don't think we should go above that. When we get close to that, you got to change the tax system to make sure that you don't go and do that, and you live within your means, even the ABC.

MURRAY:

[Laughs] God love you. Alright, got a question here. What's your question for the Treasurer?

QUESTION:

In last year's Federal Budget we talked about adding some reforms to superannuation, and one of the parts that really interests myself was allowing retirees between the age of 65 and 75 to be able to contribute to super and not meet the work test. That was exciting in my role, because it meant a lot more people were going to be able to participate in things like retirement income streams. I think the Government seemed to get lazy on selling that idea to the Opposition, and there wasn't, it didn't seem like it from our point of view much argument as to why that got abolished. Could you give anymore thoughts to that?

TREASURER:

Couldn't get it through the Senate. That was the bottom line. I thought it was a really good change. I was very keen to see it pursued, but you know, you got to play what's in front of you. And you know, we could keep it there and pretend it was going to happen and tell people that but that would've been I think misleading them. I think it's a good change and in this Budget we made a slight improvement to that again. It means where people can contribute for a little longer. Also for older Australians, we're changing the pension work scheme, work bonus, which means if you own your own business, you never got access to this before. You can now earn $7,800 a year in that sort of income. And I met a woman the other day who does house sitting, and she gets it paid into a company. Now that won't affect the pension she gets. So we are making some of those changes but we also have to operate within the Senate, the Australian people elected, and sure that can be frustrating at times and I share your frustration particularly on that measure as I know Kelly O'Dwyer does, because we worked hard on making sure people contribute for longer. And perhaps in the future, we'll be able to have another crack at that.

MURRAY:

You know my view though. Keep voting mining parties in the Senate. Good bit of insurance. What's your question?

QUESTION:

G'day, Gavin's my name. Hi Scott.

TREASURER:

Hey Gavin.

QUESTION:

Just wanted to take you back to the company tax question for a moment. We've heard a lot of talk from the opposition about the $60 billion tax cut to big business and all that sort of stuff. But I'm really interested if you can put it in context for us. How much tax are those companies going to pay over the corresponding period just so that we can sort of get a feel for it?

TREASURER:

Good question. Each year, company tax revenue at the moment is about $67 billion a year. Apparently, when the Labor Party says companies don't pay any tax, well there must be some sort of tax fairy that turns up on my door with $67 billion from in company taxes that are paid. And those company taxes are growing as they continue to do well, and I think that's really good. So, you know, it is a, you know multiply that number by actually ten and more, and you're talking serious numbers in terms of what companies are paying in to the tax base of Australia, and giving them relief makes them competitive. That's what it's about. It's about ensuring our businesses remain competitive. But here's the line what Labor's saying. Budgets are actually done over four years. Okay? So what would you think was the biggest tax measure that Labor has announced, for what would be their first Budget? I'll tell you. It's not taxes on big companies. That won't change one drop. The big companies don't get their relief to make them more competitive to well beyond those four years. The biggest tax that Labor has announced that they're going to levy on Australians, is their retiree tax, which is ripping off the refunds of those Australians who own shares where they get the refunds because of the franking credits that come from those companies. I met a woman today with Luke. That is her entire income. She's a self-funded retiree. She lives off those refunds. It's her entire income. So we're not talking about her losing a bit. She's losing the lot. They are going to raise almost $11 billion in just two years from that. So when Bill Shorten says to you, 'we're going to provide this extra relief by cracking down on the big companies'. I have an [inaudible] for you. That's not true. They're cracking down on nonna, nanna, and yaya. That's who their taxing. And it's why I sort of said yesterday, on Mother's Day under the Labor Party. You'd better go and thank each of them because they'll be paying some pretty heavy taxes, and that's not, that's not right. That retiree's tax is nasty. It's real nasty. And it is punishing those who simply went and bought shares in Australian companies to live off the franked dividends.

QUESTION:

[inaudible]

MURRAY:

Alright I've got to…

TREASURER:

Dividend imputation was originally introduced by Paul Keating. But the way that this thing has been announced by the Labor Party just shows you how addicted to tax they are. And the reason they're addicted to tax is because they're addicted to spending.

MURRAY:

Alright one last question before we do another break. And the beer's half-drunk so this will be fun.

QUESTION:

Thanks Treasurer. My name's Nelson. Paying less tax the Federal Government's great. But when we've got Annastacia Palaszczuk appear introducing something like five new taxes in her Budget, I suppose my question is, what can you do to make sure that when your giving money back to us, the State Government aren't taking it back out of our pocket?

TREASURER:

Well you can vote LNP.

MURRAY:

[Laughs]

TREASURER:

But I mentioned before what we've been doing on the GST, and there's $6.1 billion extra in revenue that is going from the GST into the States and Territories over the next four years. By us improving the system basically. And that means more money for schools and hospitals and so one. But look, every Government's got to be held accountable by the people who elect them, and we don't think higher taxes is the way to run a stronger economy, the economy you want to live in. Someone asked me the other day, 'what's in this Budget for young people'. When a young person leaves school or leaves training, does their cert, or does their trade, the economy they walk in under this Government, that's where they're going to get their job. And over the next seven years, people say won't you split this personal tax plan? Because that young person is going to start off at this wage, and they're going to work, and they're going to work hard, and they're going to work hard. And what I want to make sure to them, and make that promise to that young person is, as you, as you move ahead in your career and in your working life, we're not going to allow you to go into higher tax rates simply because you've been putting the hours in. We've got a plan to deal with bracket creep in our personal tax plan. I mean I don't want young Australians to just work for the next four years and give them a tax plan for the next four years. I want to give them a plan that's going to ensure that they don't have to look at bracket creep in their working life. That's why the whole personal tax plan should be supported. Because it's a plan that gives young people in particular encouragement and provides the economy where they will get their first job, their first job, under a Turnbull Government. And there's more likely of that happening under a Turnbull Government than the alternative.

MURRAY:

Alright thank-you so much Treasurer. Stick about. Another break here on Paul Murray Live. Plenty more with the Treasurer and then Ross Cameron, Janine Perrett, Gary Hardgrave, Peter Gleeson. Have a look back at what's happened. More in a sec.

[break]

MURRAY:

Welcome back to North Lakes. Having a good time? Treasurer Scott Morrison is here. We've got about ten more minutes so a few more questions. And let's, I'm going to have to switch chairs, sorry. And he parted the chairs [laughs]. Closest I will ever get. [laughs]. What's your question? Hello.

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm Sarah. I'm just wondering what on earth is going on in aged care. You've got these companies that are making massive profits. They're draining elderly people before they die essentially. The Government's giving them lots of money and yet they continue to make massive profits and it's certainly not going back into aged care where it's supposed to go.

MURRAY:

Great question.

TREASURER:

In this Budget, we put a lot of focus on the ageing of the population. I said before Australians are living longer and healthier and that is a really good thing. But we want Australians to be able to age with their dignity, and we want them to be able to maintain all the choices they've had about how they want to live their life. And the key pay part of that decision is where they decide they want to stay at home, and they want to age at home. And so in this Budget we've increased the number of in-home care places. So not in residential care but at home by 20,000. 6,000 we did in December and 14,000 in this Budget. And that means for those Australians they'll be able to be at home for Christmas dinner. They'll be able to be there for kids birthday parties. They'll be able to do all those things that really matter and that's why they want to stay at home. Not only connected to their family, but connected to their communities and, but there needs to be a great deal more support that's provided to help people do that. Now that's where people are increasingly making those choices. And so we've provided for that in this Budget to support those choices. And they're at the high level care places, I should stress. So at that top end where it's really particularly needed. Where people might otherwise have to go into residential care. But in residential care also, we're increasing the support that we're providing in rural and regional areas. We've also providing support for mental health in residential aged care. So people combatting loneliness and depression, which is rife in a lot of these places. But we've also got to stand up for older Australians who are living in these centers and stand up against elder abuse and there is a raft of things we've got in this Budget which is protecting their rights: an aged care Commissioner, which is going into exactly the sorts of issues that you're talking about and giving them the power to ensure that happens. Now, there's no doubt some aged care facilities which would fit the bill that you've described to a T. And then there are others who you'd be very fortunate to have your own family living there and ageing in that place. Why in my experiences I've moved, whether it's in my electorate or the many other places I've visited around the country, and I've visited many of them. I was Social Services Minister for a time, and I've seen a lot of great people who work in aged care. And it's actually one of the strongest growing sectors of employment in our country because we have such an ageing population. And we are very good at it. But we need to make sure we maintain the standards and we maintain the dignity of Australians. Just becasue you get older shouldn't mean sacrificing your dignity. That's not the sort of country we are.

MURRAY:

Alright. Question up the front here and then I'll go right up the other end cuz I need the exercise.

QUESTION:

G'day Scott.

TREASURER:

G'day.

QUESTION:

Welcome to Brisbane. As you may be aware the State Government passed vegetation management laws which I regard to be disgraceful. My question is firstly what can your Government do to help some of the farmers who are affected by this and also more broadly what's the Government and what's the Budget got for agriculture in Australia?

TREASURER:

Yeah great question. Yeah thanks for that. Thanks for that question. First of all, on the vegetation management issues, I mean, they're the domain of the State Government and you got to hold them accountable for what they're doing there but for the Budget. On the Budget we're investing quite a significant amount in upgrading the satellite technology, the GPS technology and the Bureau of Meteorology's technology platform. Now that might sound like a whole bunch of white coat stuff to most other people, but for farmers it's a big deal. This is the data they live and breath by and by improving its accuracy and its functionality and the technology of that, that is a big deal for farmers. And David Littleproud, the Agriculture Minister, this was something along with Matt Canavan and they were mad keen that we went and invested in these things becasue it really is the tools that farmers to be able to run their farm better. I mean it's hard enough being at the mercy of the weather, but when your own technology isn't keeping up with that, that's no good either. The other thing we're doing is we're putting a lot of technical experts in the field. By that I mean over in the overseas markets where we're trying to crack them. Now we all know, our Government's done very well when it comes to cracking trade deals offshore, but then there's all those you know the little bits, well you know all the technical specifications that they add to it and all the rest of it, so we're putting people into those jobs overseas to negotiate a way and deal with a lot of those very technical things which can stop your product getting in the market. And the third thing we're doing for farmers, which is also really important, we're investing in the biosecurity at the border. So pests, weeds, animals, things coming in, biosecurity risks at the border. There's one thing I think, probably people know about me: I'm pretty keen on border protection. Now that's not just about stopping illegal boats, it's about protecting our farmers from the things that can come and wipe them out. So biosecurity, dealing with things at the border, investing in the technology that supports farmers, and continuing to invest overseas to make sure we can open up the markets for them.

MURRAY:

Alright we're going to have two more questions. So get ready to fight hard for the last one. What's your question mate?

QUESTION:

G'day Scott. Adam from Brisbane. Just want to ask about the $500 million investment in the Great Barrier Reef. Now that's a huge investment. It's one of the biggest I've heard of, and I'd just like to hear kind of where it's going and how that'll help farmers. You've talked about farmers in your last talk but I'd like to hear a bit more about that.

TREASURER:

Yeah well that's something that Josh Frydenberg has been passionately advocating for, and we're doing it through one of the local organisations up there who will be managing that for us so it's people working on the Reef already. It's just not Government agencies driving around in big white cars or anything. It's actually about funds going into research in the Reef, and Reef management practices as well, and improving all of that, and dealing with the multitude of risks that exist for the reef. And you're right, that investment does a number of things. Yes it protects our environment, but the livelihoods that depend on the reef in north Queensland are critical. I mean it's tourism, it's fisheries, it's environmental management, it's the whole works. And this is a massive investment in the research and capability of what we need to actually look after the Reef for all the right environmental reasons, but also by looking after the livelihoods of the people who depend and live off the Reef.

MURRAY:

Alright last question of the night and then let's get into this here. Go for it mate what's your name?

QUESTION:

My name's Ian, I'm a former student, former railway worker, I'm one of these ones I'm not a socialist, nor do I drink champagne but I've been to university. We understand that, or I understand from reading the Budget, that you've put something like $10,000 up there to employ older Australians.

TREASURER:

That's correct.

QUESTION:

Right. That's great. Some friends of mine and myself, we're all sort of more mature people, and we've been looking for jobs. One of them has, the last 18 months, about 3,000 job applications.

TREASURER:

Yep.

QUESTION:

And the moment they get to see you, and see that you're heading the other side of 60, well and truly, you miss out. So what are you going to do with those laws that you have to beef that up? Because we want to work.

MURRAY:

Great question mate.

TREASURER:

Yep good on you. One of the key ones is the one you mentioned. And that's the wage subsidy of $10,000, and that's over 55. And but we also have to combat age discrimination in the workplace. But we also have to help those older Australians and look I just turned 50 on the weekend so I'm not thinking 55 is as old as I used to, but to transition their skills as well. And there's resources in the Budget to support people to do a check on what their skills are what skills they might need. Now in the case that you're talking about, I know that employers value the experience, the wisdom, of older workers, the reliability…

QUESTION:

[inaudible].

TREASURER:

These are all good things. But then they might have question marks, on you know technological skills and things like that, and so we've got to bring those up and even up the score for older people who are looking to work and want to work, and are keen to keep working because if you're healthy and you're, you know, you stay connected, and you want to increase your living standards, well you have that opportunity to do that. And the Budget, when it comes to ageing, is trying to deal with the health issues that older Australians face. And there's a package in there to keep working with local sports and community organisations to keep older Australians active and connected in their communities. There's a package there which is about dealing with the work skills and allowing them to earn more without risking pensions and things like that, and as well getting the wage subsidies for employers. It's also at the more advanced level and we're talking about the aged care places which we talked about and protecting their rights. But protecting their rights is also ensuring that they're not mistreated in the workplace and they're given a fair go in the workplace. So I would encourage Australian businesses all around the country to do this. Let me leave you with one last stat, Paul.

MURRAY:

Course.

TREASURER:

Last year 415,000 people got a job. Now in Queensland, on the more, the numbers just before that, so it's around about the same proportions okay? So all those people that got those jobs, record jobs growth. One in five of them were Queenslanders. Let's hear it for Queensland.

AUDIENCE:

[clapping]

TREASURER:

One in five of them were men aged over 55.

AUDIENCE:

What?

TREASURER:

Now you know I heard the 'what?!' What that says to me is Australia has done something amazing in the last few years. We've gone through one of the biggest changes our economy has ever seen coming off the mining investment boom, and that's been felt here in Queensland, particularly in north Queensland where I'll be going over the next few days. They've felt that hard as they have over in the west and in other parts of remote and rural Australia. But what that told me in that figure is that as people have not had the job they used to in some of those other industries, they're picking up jobs in the growing stronger economy that we have today. And that's why the Budget is a plan for a stronger economy. That's what pays for everything else. And that's what we believe in and we're getting great support from Australians for delivering, and that's what we'll continue to deliver so thanks very much for everyone's attention tonight, and the opportunity to be here at North Lakes.

MURRAY:

Good. Thank-you very much Treasurer, give it up for him.

TREASURER:

Cheers.

MURRAY:

Thank you mate appreciate it. Thank you. Very good. Scott Morrison we do appreciate very much that you've come here to [inaudible] with these people. You're with us on Paul Murray Live.