Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Ballarat, Monday, 28 September 1998, 12.30pm: transcript of doorstop interview [tax reform; gas]



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

TRANSCRIPT

of

HON PETER COSTELLO MP

Treasurer

Doorstop, Ballarat

Monday, 28 September 1998 12.30 pm

 

E&OE

 

SUBJECTS: Tax reform, gas

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Firstly what’s your tax package going to do for unemployment in Ballarat?

 

TREASURER:

 

Well this is a tax package which is designed o boost businesses, take taxes off exports and by taking taxes off exports you’re going to give a real lift to Australia's export industries, that will create jobs. The second thing that this tax package does, is, it abolishes number of the costs that are currently imposed on business like provisional tax. That will also give small business a great lift and give them the opportunity to employ more people. So it’s a pro economy, pro jobs, pro small business, pro employment tax reform, which will be good for areas like Ballarat.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Obviously you would believe the 5 per cent to be unattainable?

 

TREASURER:

 

Well, look, Mr Beazley starts off by saying he’s going to get unemployment down to 5 per cent, right. That is what he said when he was Employment Minister and his record was 11.2 per cent unemployment. Then he says, oh well, that’s a target which doesn’t apply for the next election but the one after that, then he says on Sunday that if he tries he might get half the way. This is an unemployment target which is moving and bobbing and weaving and ducking and means nothing.

 

All Mr Beazley wants is a target which will get him until next Saturday, that’s all he's interested in. A target which will for five days until such time as he can pull the wool over Australians and get off to the election. At the end of the day if you want to create jobs, you have to create a strong economy, you have got to have a good tax system. That’s what the Government is all about.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Just on the matter of tax, apparently this morning Mr Costello you said that under Labor we’d have valuers coming into peoples’ homes to assess the family goods and treasures, could you explain exactly what you mean and who will be going in to do the values?

 

TREASURER:

 

If Labor is elected, they have said that they will introduce capital gains tax on everything that you own prior to 1985. What you owned prior to 1985 has never been subject to capital gains tax before. Now, if Labor’s elected, that means that you will have to put a value on everything you owned in 1985 or before, it’s got to be valued as of 1 January 1999 and any increase in that value is taxable. This applies to jewellery, it applies to art, it applies to furniture which may have been handed through the family. You are going to have to have a valuation. If you don’t have a valuation you will be at risk of tax and you’ll have to have a valuer who can give evidence if need be in relation to the value of that asset.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

So you’re quite certain someone will be knocking on your door and coming in to value your things?

 

TREASURER:

 

Well, if you have jewellery or furniture and you have to get a valuation you will have to have a valuer to come round and look at the jewellery and the furniture a nd put a value on it so that it can be assessed for Labor’s capital gains tax. Now in 1985 when Labor introduced capital gains tax they said they would never apply it to anything you owned at that time. Thirteen years after the event, 13 years later, they want to drag all of those assets back into the capital gains tax net and if Labor is elected those items will be taxable from 1 January 1999.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

I’d like to ask you about the gas crisis Mr Costello, did you have a cold shower this morning?

 

TREASURER:

 

Yes I did and I didn’t enjoy it very much either I can tell you.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

So what can be done to help the State overcome this, can the Federal Government do anything, do you think?

 

TREASURER:

 

Well the Federal Government has made the Defence Force available to fly in sterilisation units for hospitals, the Federal Government will make available any other assistance that is required but I think it is very important that Esso gels onto the rectification work as soon as it can.

 

This has been a manner of terrible suffering for people in Victoria, there will be a lot of old people particularly who will be suffering and there have been a lot of people who have been thrown out of work as a consequence of this. So I think it is impor tant that the rectification work starts, that we known what the cause was and the Federal Government stands ready to work with the Victorian Government to ensure that any assistance that is required is delivered.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

There’s been a lot of anger about privatised services now that this has happened, do you think that has any implications for the rest of the sale of Telstra?

 

TREASURER:

 

This has got nothing to do with privatisation. Esso/BHP found the Bass Strait oil and gas and Esso/BHP have been mining it ever since and this is a fault at the Esso plant. So gas from Bass Strait has always been privatised. this is not a consequence of privatisation, this is a consequence of a failure at the operators site.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Are the regions still as important to the economy as they always were?

 

TREASURER:

 

Look regions are, if anything, more important and I’m here to support Michael Ronaldson because he has been a fantastic Member for Ballarat, there’s no doubt about that. On a personal level he has really put Ballarat at the centre of decision-making in Canberra and nobody could have served this area better. One of the things that we are introducing as part of our new tax plan of course is a dramatic reduction in the cost of transport from 43 cents a litre to 18 cents a litre, nearly halving taxes on transport which is going to be great for Ballarat, great for regional Australia. That’s why we do this, to lower the cost of goods coming into regional Australia and lower the costs of goods going out of regional Australia. Thanks.

 

 

rd