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Transcript of doorstop interview: Nundah Shopping Village, Nundah: 12 June 2009: Commonwealth Bank/interest rates; school funding.



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DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

NUNDAH SHOPPING VILLAGE, NUNDAH

12 JUNE 2009

SUBJECTS: Commonwealth Bank/Interest Rates; School Funding

TREASURER:

Well, the decision from the Commonwealth Bank gets in the way of rate relief needed to stimulate our economy and to support jobs. I think Australians rightly will be furious with the Commonwealth Bank for hindering the efforts of the Commonwealth Government, the Reserve Bank and the community to support our economy during this global recession.

JOURNALIST:

It's a bit rich, isn't it, for the Bank to raise interest rates when you've given the banks so much support in terms of guaranteeing deposits (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

I think it's a selfish decision from the Commonwealth Bank. The guarantee we've put in place has been put there to support the Australian people - not the banks. And of course the guarantee has delivered a great deal of benefit to our economy. But I think this is a very selfish decision by the Commonwealth Bank. There are ups and downs when it comes to these decisions over time, but there are few decisions I can think of that are more selfish than this one.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think other banks will follow? They usually do, don't they?

TREASURER:

What I say to all the banks is let's all get together, let's pull together, let's support the economy. As I said before, this decision by the Commonwealth Bank is hindering the efforts, the combined efforts of the Government, the Reserve Bank and the community to support our economy during a global recession.

JOURNALIST:

Wasn't it inevitable, though?

TREASURER:

Transcript of 12/06/2009

Page 1 of 3 Transcript - Commonwealth Bank/Interest Rates; School Funding - Doorstop Intervie...

There's no inevitability about this decision at all. I think it's a selfish decision. It's one the Commonwealth Bank has taken, but it is not one I regard as being justified at all.

JOURNALIST:

There's nothing you can do about it, is there?

TREASURER:

We don't regulate interest rates in this country. But I can call these decisions as I see them, and on this occasion I regard this decision as being very selfish.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think it will have a certain negative or a certain recessionary effect on the economy?

TREASURER:

Well, as I said before, this decision from the Commonwealth Bank does hinder the efforts of the Commonwealth Government, the Reserve Bank and the community to support jobs. It's as clear as that.

JOURNALIST:

Have you spoken to executives from the bank today?

TREASURER:

I've conveyed my opinion directly to the Commonwealth Bank today.

JOURNALIST:

Who to? To the…

TREASURER:

I'm not going into the discussions. I've conveyed my opinion to the Commonwealth Bank.

JOURNALIST:

What have they said?

TREASURER:

I'm not reporting on the conversations. I've made my view very clear to the bank and now I'm making my view very clear to the Australian people. This is a selfish decision by the Commonwealth Bank which will hinder the efforts of the Commonwealth Government, the Reserve Bank and the Australian community to support jobs during a global recession.

JOURNALIST:

On another issue, the schools funding. Have you investigated whether the funding is going to schools that are closing down or moving?

TREASURER:

Page 2 of 3 Transcript - Commonwealth Bank/Interest Rates; School Funding - Doorstop Intervie...

Well, I don't know where this word "investigate" comes from. Why would I be investigating it? The Education Minister, Julia Gillard, administers this program. I think it has been administered very well by Julia Gillard and her department. I have had a look at the guidelines today because I don't think we should assume some of the reporting about these matters is entirely accurate. But these are the guidelines. School amalgamations: where two or more schools have planned amalgamation over the next three years into either a new school site or an expansion of one of the existing schools then the indicative funding allocation for schools to be merged may be combined to be used for capital and refurbishment of the new school. I think that's pertinent to the reporting today that hasn't necessarily been reported. Of course, the other guideline is that if a school is planned for closure then the funding must not be approved for that school entity. It's that simple.

JOURNALIST:

Sorry, no, I wrote that story and I just, you know, I do know that some of the schools were not being amalgamated, they have been given money and are marked for closure, full stop. There's no mention of amalgamation. How did they get funding?

TREASURER:

I look forward to seeing all of the details supplied by your good self. I don't accept some of the facts as they've been outlined today as being correct. It's that clear.

Page 3 of 3 Transcript - Commonwealth Bank/Interest Rates; School Funding - Doorstop Intervie...