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Budget 2018: transcript of interview with David Koch: Sunrise: 9 May 2018

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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Treasurer




Subjects: Budget 2018.

DAVID KOCH: Let’s go straight to Treasurer Scott Morrison. Thanks for joining us Treasurer, big morning for you.

TREASURER: Thanks David.

KOCH: Hey, look the economy is going through a purple patch at the moment. All of these initiatives are dependent on that purple patch continuing. How confident are you on that, commodity prices staying high, jobs growth?

TREASURER: Well we’re not forecasting commodity prices to stay high. I mean the commodity price impact on this Budget is only in 2017-18, 2018-19, and then after that we’re taking the commodity prices down. I mean all major economists today have come out and called our forecast to be very much credible. I mean they’re even more conservative than the Reserve Bank, so the forecast we think sit very much on the cautious side of the line. On the longer term, what we’re looking at is employment continuing to improve. We’re still not at the full employment rate, and we’ve got some more work to do there despite this Australia Bureau of Statistics showing that more than 1,000 jobs were created every day last year. So that’s really where the Budget improvement comes from, when you get people not taking welfare payments anymore and getting into work, and paying taxes. And we’re going to ensure that those taxes, there’s some relief for those as you’ve already reported for low to middle income earners. They get it first as they should.

KOCH: Yep. There have been calls for an overhaul of the tax system for a long time. Getting rid of that middle bracket is a significant step forward. Is this the start of a bigger tax overhaul?

TREASURER: Well you always try and do as much as you can, and you’ve got to do it responsibly, and you’ve got to do it affordably. And seven years is our timetable for getting to that point. If we’re able to do it sooner than that, then obviously we will. The Parliament has an opportunity to vote for that package right now, and do that now. I mean I know the Labor Party will look for any excuse to not give people tax relief, but we’re going to put that to the Parliament and look for that to be supported. It’s important that people know what the future of the tax system looks like, whether you’re running a small business or you’re running a family budget. And that’s what the Budget last night was seeking to do, particularly for middle income Australians.

KOCH: Yeah, and just a reminder for small business owners, the instant tax write-off on the $20,000 is going to be extended. That’s great news for small business…



KOCH: But one thing that’s not getting much coverage is you’ve targeted these offshore online hotel booking platforms, like Expedia and things like that, making them subject to the GST. Is that the thin end of the wedge? Is that going to be a target going forward? Are you going to expand that?

TREASURER: Well, I’ll be releasing an options paper in a few weeks’ time. One of things we’ve been working with other countries around the world is the new economy, it’s exciting, the digital economy, the gig economy, it’s all very exciting. It’s offering all sorts of services that weren’t possible before. But it can’t be a tax free zone. It’s a bigger part of the economy in the future, and we’ve gotta work together with other countries to ensure that it’s sort of brought into the tax net the same way the old economy is. And we’ve gotta do that without inhibiting its growth and development. So we’ve gotta be careful about this and work closely with other countries, and that’s what we’re doing particularly through the G20…

KOCH: Yep…

TREASURER: But all companies, you know taxes should be lower, simpler and fairer David, but everyone should pay them as well, whether it’s, that’s why we’ve got the measures on black economy. You’re right about small business though. The other thing we’ve done for small business in this Budget, is we’ve got some tough new anti-phoenixing measures. Lots of small businesses know out there that there are other disreputable businesses who go bust, and restructure simply so they don’t have to pay their bills, and that can really hurt small business.

KOCH: That is so annoying, and it’s good that action is being made on that. Look older Australians, helping them stay in the work force longer, earn a bit of extra money, is a really key plank of this Budget. Bill Shorten says, ‘we’re going to have the oldest retirement age in the world’. Is that fair?

TREASURER: Well, the next few increases in the retirement age, they’re all the ones that the Labor Party actually legislated and introduced when they were in government. I mean the one that we’re talking about is fifteen years away. The raising of the retirement age that is about to occur was done as a result of the decision by Bill Shorten himself as part of a Labor government. So, look he’s just playing politics with that David. What we’re doing in this Budget is to support the choices of old Australians whether they want to stay at home as they age. We’ve got 20,000 additional places, which includes the 6,000 we provided in December for in-home care. More Australians are choosing to do that, and that gives them that support. We’ve got a real big waiting list to chew through there. But equally as you say, you know we’ve got a bonus for employers who take on older Australians. I mean it’s done for people who are younger, who we are trying to get into the workforce and off the unemployment queues. But equally for older Australians, that bonus and that incentive will be there. And when they’re starting a business. And if you’re running your own business when you’re older, you can now earn $7,800 more and that not impact what you might be getting on the pension.

KOCH: Ok. Scott Morrison, appreciate you stopping by.

TREASURER: Thanks a lot David, good to be with you.

KOCH: Thank-you


Contacts: Andrew Carswell 0418 505 376, Kate Williams 0418 872 921, Sonia Gentile 0455 050 007


The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Sydney