26 February 2019
Transcript - #2019038, 2019

Interview with Deborah Knight, Today Show, Channel 9

Subjects: Labor’s housing tax; wage growth; Climate Solutions Package; and Budget.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

Treasurer, good morning to you.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good morning, Deb.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

The housing market in Australia, we know, is in a slump and prices are tipped to fall even further. What is this poll by the Property Council found?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, this poll represents a chilling warning about the detrimental impact that Labor’s hike to capital gains tax and their plans to abolish negative gearing, as we know it, will have. It will ultimately increase rents for millions of Australians and decrease construction in the housing sector, costing jobs and lowering economic growth. You see, the Labor Party’s policy is to drive the value of your home down and to increase your rent and this is coming at exactly the worse time for the housing market when we’ve already seen a correction in the major markets of Melbourne, Sydney and other parts of the country.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a survey done on voting patterns on this before, frankly. But, only a thousand people were surveyed and it didn’t include owner-occupiers, who would benefit most, of course, from Labor’s plan. Do you think it’s really an accurate picture of the way most Australians are feeling?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, actually, owner-occupiers will lose out because the value of their home will be worth less, therefore the money that they borrow from the bank to support their small business will be less. This means that the number one asset, the family home, will actually be worth less. This was a critical survey by the Property Council of investors, both existing investors in the property market and also potential investors. And a 1 per cent increase, Deb, in rents will mean a $250 hit to the average renter, and there are more than two million renters in Australia who are aged between 20 and 34, so Labor’s policy will actually hit the younger people in our community even harder.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

Well, property is a big issue, we know for Australians, but so too are wages which are flat at the moment, and the International Monetary Fund says that wages will barely grow over the next six years. How will you counter this?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, actually we saw a jump of 2.3 per cent in the most recent wages price index…

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

It’s still quite flat though…

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, it represents the biggest jump in three years and it is above inflation. But, what we have seen across the economy, Deb, is really strong jobs growth; over 1.2 million new jobs. The most recent job numbers show that more than 60,000 full time jobs were created, and female workforce participation is now at a record high. So, it’s good news for women coming into the workforce, good news for people finding jobs. And, if you’ve got a job, then you can invest in your first home, if you’ve got a job, then you have the security to provide for your family.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

Now, the Prime Minister unveiled his Climate Solutions Package yesterday. And, you would expect the Greens and Labor not to be happy, but are you disappointed that some in business are critical as well? We know the Australian Industry Group is saying that it is not a comprehensive or permanent solution to curbing dangerous carbon pollution. Will it go even further do you think?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, I actually saw the Australian Industry Group say that this was a step in the right direction…

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

But, they want more though…

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, today the Prime Minister has announced more, Deb, with a $1.4 billion commitment to Snowy Hydro 2.0, which will help stabilise the energy system across the eastern seaboard of Australia. You see, we’ve got emissions now down to its lowest level on a per capita and GDP basis in twenty eight years. There has never been a greater investment in renewables in Australia’s history than under a Coalition Government. We’ve seen record investment in renewables. The Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday about energy efficiency programs, supporting the roll out of electric vehicles, the Emissions Reduction Fund, and obviously Snowy 2.0, is a comprehensive suite of policies. We’ve got to get the balance right, we’ve got to create jobs, not hurt the economy, keep energy prices down, at the same time, meet our international commitments, which we will do under the Paris Agreement.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

We know climate is such a big issue, particularly in your home state of Victoria..

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Yes, absolutely…

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

Now, no pressure here Treasurer, but we have got the Budget looming in April, it’s going to be a last roll of the dice before the election, how are you going? How are the late nights getting it all ready?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, there are early mornings like this one and late nights as well, Deb. But, obviously, the Budget will represent the economic plan for the Government, for the country. We’re all about lowering taxes, creating jobs…

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

We will see tax cuts, will we?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, what we will see is a good economic plan for the future. Rest assured, that the jobs growth, the record jobs growth that we are seeing, rest assured the lower taxes we are already delivering for small businesses and families, all of that is helping to keep the economy going in the right direction.

DEBORAH KNIGHT:

I wonder if that’s a yes. I gave it a red hot go, anyway. We will wait until April. Good on you, Treasurer, thank you so much for your time this morning.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good morning and nice to be with you.