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Budget 2006: Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 10 May 2006: Budget 2006; interest rates.



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, 10 MAY 2006

E & O E - PROOF ONLY

Subjects: Budget 2006; Interest Rates

BEAZLEY: These tax cuts are welcome. They’re overdue and they’re already spent. The simple fact of the matter is our taxpayers have confronted a triple whammy in recent times with rising petrol prices, rising mortgages and now a threat to their incomes in the industrial relations system. So, these tax cuts, while they’re welcome, they’re overdue and they’re already spent.

The central problem with Budget is that there’s nothing in it for the future. This Budget mortgages our future. A half an hour speech - not a mention of education. The major impediment to growth in the long term in our economy - the qualifications of our people. We have massive skills shortages. In a Budget in which the money was just sloshing around, not a cent for that.

Now, while the tax cuts, in some areas, are welcome for women, there’s nothing on the other side of the coin with child care. Much was promised last week on child care - nothing was delivered. If you are going to encourage people into the workforce, you’ve got to do something different on child care. There was nothing in this Budget different on child care, just more reinforcement of failing policy.

So, these are the changes that must be made for our future. The Budget should not have mortgaged our future, it should have been about our future.

JOURNALIST: Will this Budget force rates up?

BEAZLEY: Peter Costello says no and we can only hope so. But I can tell you this: in the long term if we want a low interest rate environment in Australia, we’ve got to do something about our skills, we’ve got to do something about our infrastructure, we’ve got to do something about our exports. There’s not much hope on any of those fronts in this Budget.

JOURNALIST: You had a lot of concerns last year about the way the tax cuts were divided up. Do you have any concerns this year about the fact that people on higher incomes are getting a bigger per dollar a week tax cut?

BEAZLEY: We are just grateful for the fact that finally Costello and Howard have been dragged kicking and screaming to give something to middle Australia. We’ve been advocating that for a very long time now. You’ve had five Budgets in which nothing’s been delivered. Finally you get something. We’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth on that subject. But the simple fact of the matter is this: those tax cuts are overdue. They’re welcome, as far as we’re concerned, but we know they’re already spent.

ends