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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Stronger than expected retail

trade figures boost hopes the

Australian economy may be

holding up better than Speck,

retail sales rising by -

expected, retail sales rising

2.2%. The Government says it's

a sign that the stimulus is

a sign that the stimulus is working. Small Business Minister joins us from

Sydney. Do the retail sales

figures indicate more cash

handouts could be appropriate

to prime the small business

sector? We are doing a lot to

support the small business

sector and the economy

generally, there's two stimulus

packages having an effect, the

retail sales figures are

strong, the second strongest since

since the year 2000, indeed,

since November of last year.

Retail sales are up 4.5%, I

looked at other looked at other countries

around the world. Just about

every other one they are down

sharply. The stimulus packages

are obviously working. The

second stimulus is two-thirds

nation building infrastructure,

that, too, will help small

businesses kes all the tradies

businesses kes all the tradies

and will - all the tradies and

will boost costs. Does it

indicate more cash handouts

could be appropriate. $42

billion is a lot of money,

there's a lot of stimulus

coming through, interest rates

falling sharply, the value of the Australian dollar compared

to a year ago is down a fair

bit, it's the second source of stimulus, interest

stimulus, interest rates, the

Australian dollar and the active involvement of active involvement of the

Federal Government in

stimulating the

stimulating the economy. It

doesn't sound like you are

entering takening that

possibility. I can't, you know

I can't speculate about what

I can't speculate about what is

in the Budget. I'm saying that

already - already there is a

massive nation building infrastructure program which is

not only good for stimulus,

not only good for stimulus,

tradies, the long-term tradies, the long-term future

of the country, we are

preparing Australia to get

through this economic downturn,

the worst global recession

since the Great Depression, since the Great Depression, get

to the other side and prepare

Australian businesses for recovery, we'll support them

through the period. With the

good retail sales results,

where are the chances of a

positive GDP for the first

positive GDP for the first

quarter. I am not a soothsayer

or predictor of economic

statistics, I will say this:

Malcolm Turnbull seems to be

disappointed every time there's

good news. He was disappointed

yesterday about strong retail

sales figures, he's been saying

the stimulus efforts of the

Government have been

ineffective and done nothing

for growth. Yesterday he for growth. Yesterday he said

it had done nothing for it had done nothing for growth.

These are strong

These are strong figures, and

retail sales is an important

component of Gross Domestic

Product. He's wrong. They are

exaggerating the situation for

their own opportunistic

benefit. He's right in terms of

pointing out that the

Government is racking up a

substantial debt, a debt that's

going to cost $3 billion a year

in interest payments alone in

four years time,

four years time, is that

sustainable? Well, on this very

point, when Malcolm Turnbull is

challenged about what he would

do, including yesterday, he's

saying that he would have a

stimulus package half the stimulus package half the sides

of the one we've got. That's

$20 billion smaller, instead of

$200 million, he supports $180 million, he can't have his cake

million, he can't have his cake

and eat it. He has to get in a

position where he says he's a

no debt person, there should be

no debt, services should be

slashed or taxes increased. He

don't do that, that's unpopular

for him. Or he could back the

Government because the

difference Tweens his

proposition and ours is do -

between his proposition and ours is $20

ours is $20 billion. Is

repaying the $3 billion a repaying the $3 billion a year

sustainable. We are mapping

out a plan, that will be out a plan, that will be clear

in the Budget to return the

Budget to balance over time as

the economy recovers. There's

two basic alternatives - sit

back, let the market rip, let

people lose their jobs, have

the whole burden of adjustment

on the unemployed, we don't

think that's fair or

acceptable, or get in there and

support business through support business through tax

breaks which we are breaks which we are doing,

stimulating the economy through

infrastructure, which we are

doing, we think that's the

right policy, it's endorsed by

the Monday r the OECD, the Monday r the OECD, -

International Monetary Fund,

the OECD, we are showing the

way in terms of results. The

only person disappointed only person disappointed is

Malcolm Turnbull. Craig Emerson in Sydney, thanks

in Sydney, thanks for talking

to us this morning. Pleasure

to be on, thank you. A few more