24 October 2018
Transcript - #2018052, 2018

Doorstop interview, Parliament House, Canberra

Subjects: Labor’s housing tax and negative gearing policy; energy prices; and Malcolm Turnbull representing Australia in Bali.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Today, the Master Builders Association have released important, independent economic modelling that shows that Labor's changes to negative gearing will cost 32,000 jobs across the economy, they'll push up rents and they'll decrease the value of the family home.

This is a destructive tax and grab policy by the Labor Party. It's part of their $200 billion of new taxes; new taxes on your income, new taxes on your business, new taxes on your property, new taxes on your retirement savings and increased taxes on your electricity.

What we have seen with negative gearing is that it helps lower the rents across the market. By the Labor Party's changes to negative gearing, Australians will see the value in their home decrease.

JOURNALIST:

How significant is that impact?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we've seen a number of reports, including RiskWise which has talked about a nine per cent reduction in housing prices and when Labor came up with this increase in tax policy and the changes to negative gearing, it was in a very different housing market.

It was at a time when housing prices had been higher than they were today. They've come down for 12 consecutive months. What we've seen is an orderly unwind, according to Standard & Poor's, in Australia's housing market. We've seen the Reserve Bank talk about the housing market coming back to a sustainable level and now the Labor Party is going to hit those with negative gearing and those looking to negative gear properties, with an increase in tax.

JOURNALIST:

The Prime Minister wants power companies to lower their prices by January 1. Why would they do that if they don't have to?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, the companies need to understand that consumers are paying too much for their power and this is eroding the confidence that they have in the power companies. Now, we saw prices come down from the 1st of July this year in Queensland and South Australia and across New South Wales.

And, we've seen wholesale prices come down to about 25 per cent this year. But, what we need to do, is accept the advice of the ACCC who have recommended that we put in place this default price setting to remove some of the confusion and complexity around the household power bill.

JOURNALIST:

What are your thoughts on the idea of indemnifying power generation projects against the future risk of a carbon price?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, what we're focusing on here is overcoming market failure where new generators want to build generation that is firm to support industrial customers but they haven't been successful getting the long-term finance that we need.

So, the Government has been asked to step in here and provide a level of comfort and a level of support around the financing so that the market gets the large-scale generation that it needs, regardless of what type of technology is used.

JOURNALIST:

When did you last speak with Malcolm Turnbull?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

I've spoken to Malcolm Turnbull a couple of weeks ago and I haven't spoken to him since he's come back to Australia.

JOURNALIST:

Should the Prime Minister be going to Bali instead of him?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, as Scott Morrison has made clear and rightly so, this decision was taken weeks ago and Malcolm Turnbull has a good relationship with President Widodo. Scott Morrison is unable to go to this conference, this conference is important to the Indonesians and the Prime Minister has spoken directly about it to President Widodo, about Malcolm Turnbull going.

So, it is an appropriate decision, it was taken weeks ago and we should show respect to our former Prime Ministers. Thank you.