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Transcript of doorstop: Friday, 30 May, 2003: Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club,\nSouth Yarra: retail trade, interest rates, leadership.



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TRANSCRIPT

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP

Doorstop

Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club South Yarra

Friday, 30 May, 2003 11.30 am

SUBJECTS: Retail Trade, Interest Rates, Leadership

TREASURER:

Well retail trade rose 1.2 per cent in April to be 6.1 per cent higher than a year ago. What that shows is that there is still quite a deal of confidence on the part of the consumer, the retail trade is growing strongly, and this is supported of course by low interest rates and also strong employment outcomes. And so the retail trade figures today illustrate quite an ongoing degree of consumer confidence supported by positive economic conditions and will contribute to growth through the course of the year.

JOURNALIST:

What is leading that confidence in the retail sector?

TREASURER:

What's leading the confidence I think is the fact that we have got interest rates at thirty year lows, that we have had quite a strong housing cycle, and we have also seen a bounce back in consumer confidence in the month of May, bouncing back with the end of the war in Iraq, and lower petrol prices of course are giving people some more discretionary spending.

JOURNALIST:

Interest rates should stay where they are then?

TREASURER:

Well, interest rates are targeted under our policy, and inflation. Inflation, we see as coming off a little of course helped by lower petrol prices, so the figures that we see here support strong retail spending and that is underpinned by the kind of interest rate regime that we have had.

JOURNALIST:

So, interest rates should stay as they are then?

TREASURER:

I never, I never talk about the future movement of interest rates.

JOURNALIST:

So you would be upset if the Reserve Bank changed them?

TREASURER:

I never talk about the future movement of interest rates.

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask you also about rumours that you are interested in foreign travel and a lot of overseas travel?

TREASURER:

No, as Treasurer I have certain international obligations, which I attend to as required, but other than that most of my job involves staying at home and keeping a very strong eye on domestic policy.

JOURNALIST:

Does the Foreign Minister position interest you at all?

TREASURER:

No.

JOURNALIST:

You don't think that it would be helpful to be the Foreign Minister?

TREASURER:

I am fully exercised at being Treasurer, it is a tough job. It is one of the toughest jobs in the Government and I am not thinking of any changes in that regard I can assure you.

JOURNALIST:

So the only change will be to a tougher job?

TREASURER:

Well, as I say I am very focused on what I am doing at the moment.

JOURNALIST:

If the Prime Ministership is available?

TREASURER:

Well I am focused on what I am doing at the moment and if that were the case ask me then.

JOURNALIST:

Well, the big deal that was struck, what do you think is going to happen to that (inaudible) what is (inaudible)...?

TREASURER:

What big deal is that?

JOURNALIST:

Well the legendary, the deal that has been struck in relation to the passing of the baton.

TREASURER:

Well you would have to ask someone else about that, I know nothing of it. OK, thanks.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000