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Transcript of doorstop interview: Logan, Queensland: 16 February 2016: visit to the electorate of Forde; National Platform for Economic Growth and Jobs; taxation; negative gearing; Stuart Robert



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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Treasurer

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TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, LOGAN, QUEENSLAND THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2016

E&OE

Subjects: Visit to the electorate of Forde; National Platform for Economic Growth and Jobs; taxation; negative gearing; Stuart Robert.

TREASURER: Well, it is great to be here with my good colleague Bert van Manen once again. Bert and I actually met here many, many years ago before he came into Parliament in 2007. So, it is great to be here at Kellie’s wonderful coffee shop and to be trained by Tegan and Brianne on how to make a coffee and to see what they are going through and learning about all of their training programs. One of the most important objectives we have as a government is jobs and particularly jobs for young people. The opportunities that are provided by small businesses like this all around Queensland and all around Brisbane and the training that is provided and the support that is provided for young people to come and get a job and get a trade and get a skill and to develop that positive attitude in the workplace which has been offered right here is one of the key ingredients about how we are going to continue to grow our economy. Sure, the economic times are difficult globally but what we are seeing in businesses like this and all around the country, is Australians out there having the effort put in and making the difference and ensuring that the jobs and growth will be there for the future. So, it has been great to be here with you Bert, seeing what is happening locally and that is what we are focused on.

QUESTION: So, do you think young people shouldn’t give up then despite the current economic [inaudible]?

TREASURER: The Australian economy is growing at twice the rate of like-economies like Canada. We are growing faster than any of the other economies on average in the OECD and so despite the global turbulent times we have seen it even today the confidence figures are surviving even despite the global uncertainty. Business conditions remain strong and the perception of them remains strong. As I say confidence is not being shattered by what we are seeing globally. What is happening in the real economy, what is happening in this coffee shop and the factories up the road and other places around Queensland and particularly here is that the Australian economy is transitioning and it is performing and it is delivering jobs and growth. Last year more than 300,000 jobs were created in Australia - created by businesses like this. They are not created by governments, they are not created by politicians, they are created by businesses owners like Kellie and her Dad who together are operating some four of these shops around this area. That is where the jobs come from - businesses having a go and putting young people in who are showing the right attitude, like we are seeing here, and getting the skills and getting the training.

QUESTION: Minister, what about Mums and Dads having a go with negative gearing? I mean are you going to be just looking at the big end of town or will you possibly be coming back [inaudible]?

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TREASURER: I have always said that negative gearing has provided great opportunity to Mum and Dad investors, to police, to nurses, to teachers and others. Two-thirds of people who negative gear in this country have a taxable income of $80,000 or less, 70 per cent just own one property. Seventy per cent have a net rental loss of $10,000. The Labor Party seems to think they are all property barons. What they don’t understand is that negative gearing for the vast majority of people who use it are just ordinary Australians trying to get ahead and taking one of the few options they have to build wealth over a lifetime. Now, the way that they have decided to try and address this issue, they are not dealing with the excesses of negative gearing, they are actually hitting the nurses and the teachers and others who rely on it to build wealth. They want them to go and compete with high end investors for an even smaller, reduce in [inaudible] properties by basing it on just new assets.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

TREASURER: Well, I am always talking to colleagues. I am talking to colleagues here today. I am constantly in contact with colleagues working through all of these issues. What all of us want to achieve is we want to try and reduce wherever we can the tax burden on Australians who work for a living. Taxpayers who actually go to work every day to earn their income, small businesses who run their business to earn their income and we are trying to find whatever way we can to try and reduce the tax burden on those Australians. They are the ones who generate the jobs, they are the ones who generate the tax revenue that helps provide the support to the services that governments need to provide.

QUESTION: Will you be making changes that affect the Budget [inaudible]?

TREASURER: The Budget will be introduced in May, as it always is, there is no change to that and we will outline the measures that we have been working carefully through. Now, as we demonstrated, as we considered, the changes around the GST. We did the homework, we weren’t rushed into it, we worked out whether it would be something that we should do and we worked out that that was not the right answer and that is why the GST has been taken off the table as the Prime Minister and I have said now and that has been an important threshold decision.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

TREASURER: You have got to make the right decisions for the country and a Government shouldn’t be heckled or bullied into making decisions that it hasn’t done the full work on. What you will get from the Prime Minister and I as we work through these important decisions on tax is we’ll do the work. We will do the homework and we will make sure whether it is the right thing to do for the country. Now, we have made that decision when it comes to a GST to provide big income tax cuts. The analysis that we did showed that at the end of the day it wouldn’t deliver the sort of support to the economy that we hoped it might achieve. So, that is not an option the Government will be pursuing but we will continue to look for growth under every rock. We will continue to look for opportunities to reduce the tax burden on Australians who are working saving and investing every day to support our transitioning economy.

QUESTION: Has Stuart Robert paid too high a price for his trip to China or not?

TREASURER: Well, those issues regarding Mr Robert were addressed last week and the Prime Minister has now appointed his new Cabinet and his new ministry and we get on with the job of doing the right thing by the Australian economy and for all Australians to help them. As I keep saying, our economy is transitioning, it is a positive transition, it is happening because Australians are putting in the work and the effort to make that a success. As a Government, in this Budget, we will be doing what we think is needed to ensure that they are backed in in that decisions and that means that you have got to get expenditure under control because if you can’t keep expenditure low

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than you can’t get taxes low. What our opponents want to do is they want to tax higher to spend higher. We want to ensure that we spend less so that we can tax less.

Thanks for your time.

(ENDS)

Further information: Julian Leembruggen 0400 813 253