19 December 2017
Transcript - #2017250, 2017

Doorstop interview, Sydney

SUBJECTS: MYEFO 2017

CRAIG LAUNDY:

I've got Scott Morrison here with me at Flemington Markets today, located in my electorate of Reid. We've had a great time talking to intergeneration small and family business owners, obviously a space very close to my heart. I've grown up with a lot of guys in this neck of the woods, Scott, thank you so much for coming down today to chat to them, listening to their concerns, you've heard they're extremely, extremely excited about the tax cuts that have been achieved and will continue to be achieved, but also, the job you're doing in leading the economic team for the Turnbull Government. Thank you very much mate.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot Craig, well it's economy central here at Sydney's markets, this is where the rubber really does hit the road. It is great to see so many small and medium sized family businesses that have benefited from the tax cuts we've already legislated. Just like we said we would at the last election, the last election we said we'd focus on delivering jobs and growth, that's exactly what we've been delivering. A thousand jobs are being created everyday this year, and more. That's obviously having a big impact on helping us to restore the Budget back to balance. Yesterday's midyear statement demonstrated that we're making real headway there, $6 billion in improvements in this financial year. $4.4 billion in improvements that came in on last financial year. The debt will be lower than we'd anticipated, and the net debt, you might remember when Peter Costello and John Howard got rid of the $96 billion worth of debt, that was net debt, and it is net debt that will be falling not only just over the forward estimates, over the next four years, will peak next year lower than we anticipated, and then it will fall over the forward estimates, and fall over the next 10 years. So we're turning that Labor debt ship around, that they loaded up, and set off in that big debt direction, turning it around, we're getting the results, and from this year, we will no longer be putting, what is effectively the national grocery bill on the credit card. We will no longer be borrowing to pay for every day expenses such as welfare, that's because we're getting welfare spending under control. Happy to take some questions.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, economist Chris Richardson says the MYEFO numbers mean that you can deliver either further company tax cuts, or income tax cuts, but not both, is he wrong?

TREASURER:

I intend to prove him wrong, as we work forward. It's not the first time people have given me apparently impossible tasks, I've been presented with these in my political career before, and delivered on them as we know, whether it was in immigration, or as we continue to turn the ship around here on the Budget. So it is our intention to ensure that we provide tax relief, for middle income Australians, and stay on track for our Budget surplus, projected for 2021, those two things both have to be achieved, it can't be one or the other, and so that's exactly what we're working towards.

QUESTION:

Can you guarantee, if you're determined to do both, the personal tax cuts and the company tax cuts, can you guarantee that the personal tax cuts will be worth more than a cup of coffee?

TREASURER:

That will all become apparent once Budgets are handed down, and that's the work we're doing right now, and we've already cut taxes. We got rid of the deficit levy, we increased the middle-income tax threshold from $80,000 to $87,000. We've cut small business taxes, we've cut medium-sized business taxes, we've extended the instant asset write off, we have been a Government that has been cutting taxes whether it's for individuals, or whether it's for companies, and particularly small and medium sized businesses. As Craig said, if you walk around these markets, you'll find intergeneration family businesses. People who've done the hard slog over decades. Particularly in the last ten years they've had to put their own hand in their own pocket, to keep their employees in jobs, and they've had a tough go of it, profits have been very, very soft for much of the last decade, only more recently have we seen a blip. As we see those profits come sustainable, as we see the Labor market tighten, then I'm quite certain we'll see that flow to better wages for Australians.

QUESTION:

Are you prepared to guarantee that we'll see tax cuts beyond what's already been legislated?

TREASURER:

For companies?

QUESTION:

Yes.

TREASURER:

Well that's a matter for the Senate, and the Labor Party. The only people standing in the way of, frankly, Australians having a better chance of higher wages is the Labor Party. What we're trying to do here is drive investment, which drives jobs, which drives profits, which drives higher wages. That is achieved by reducing the tax burden on the economy and, particularly, for businesses. The rest of the world gets it, France gets it, the UK gets it, Singapore gets it, the United States gets it. The only people who don't get it, that if you want a stronger economy with more jobs and higher wages, you've got to cut taxes, the only people who don't get that is Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen. They used to believe it, I don't know what happened, they should actually revisit some of their earlier statements, and get with the program and stop standing in the way of investment jobs, and wage growth.

QUESTION:

Can you guarantee then that you'll keep the further company tax cuts in the Budget, even if they can't be legislated?

TREASURER:

We'll continue to present it to the Senate. That's exactly what we're doing. It's in the Budget. It's in MYEFO, so I think our track record is there for everyone to see. And it's for the Labor Party to get out of the way and stop driving jobs offshore investment offshore, and wage rises offshore by standing in the way of a lower tax burden on our economy.

QUESTION:

Would you like to see big business get more involved in campaigning for the need for the tax cuts for business?

TREASURER:

I want to see big businesses doing what they do best, that is employing people, and making sure people have more and better paid jobs. That's what they do in our economy and we want to ensure that all businesses that are in a position to create more and better paid jobs. More than a thousand jobs being delivered everyday. That is record jobs growth. At the start of this year, Bill Shorten went to the Press Club and said, this year is all about jobs, jobs and jobs. Then he stopped talking about it for the rest of the year. What we did was we got on about delivering more than a thousand jobs a day, that is the best jobs growth on record, even since the Budget 200,000 more jobs have been created. That's the better days I was talking about. More people in work, the lowest welfare dependency of our working age population in 25 years. That is something to take into Christmas as a year of achievement.

QUESTION:

On another issue briefly, what's the Government hoping to achieve from the ministerial reshuffle expected this week?

TREASURER:

I'll leave the Prime Minister to talk about those things, they're the sole province and domain of Prime Minister and I look forward to his announcement when he chooses to make it.

QUESTION:

Would Barnaby Joyce, for example, make a good Infrastructure Minister?

TREASURER:

Barnaby can set his mind to any task that he's given, in my experience of working with Barnaby, and it's great to have Barnaby back. It's great to have John Alexander back, our colleague here in Sydney, next door neighbour. It's the Labor Party who are at sixes and sevens, they're the ones who have descended into disunity at Christmas time. The Dastyari wars within the Labor Party have now begun, between the left and the right. Everybody is into payback and settling scores in the Labor Party. It's not going to be a very happy Christmas table around Bill Shorten's shadow cabinet, they're all at each other now, we can clearly see, after his captain's pick in Bennelong, which went absolutely south. Merry Christmas everyone from here at the Sydney Markets. It's great to be with you Craig.