2 April 2019
Transcript - #2019058, 2019

Interview with Mark Riley, Channel 7

Subjects: 2019-20 Budget.

MARK RILEY:

Treasurer, thanks for joining us.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good to be with you Mark.

MARK RILEY:

Congratulation on your first budget. To have a second budget, you’re going to have to win the election. Is there enough in this to ensure that?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well this budget creates a stronger economy and better future for all Australians. We’ve got measures in this budget which will ease the cost of living pressures. We’ve got measures in this budget that will build more infrastructure to get people home sooner and to get people to work earlier. And we’ve got measures in this budget to guarantee the essential services of schools and hospitals that people need and deserve. This budget sets up the country for the next decade.

MARK RILEY:

Sets up the country for the next decade? Or does it set up the government for the next election?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we’re focused on delivering for all Australians and this budget does that. More money in their pockets, because we want Australians to earn more and to keep more of what they earn. This budget does that and also has a big half-a-billion dollar skills package, to ensure that our young people get the skills that they need for the workforce of the future.

MARK RILEY:

The tax cuts in this, you’re saying it’s an all or nothing proposition, but you won’t put them to the Parliament in the next couple of days. So, does that mean you’ll have to come back in June, and why ‘all or nothing’?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we want to give people tax relief. We want people to earn more, but also to keep more of what they earn and this is one package of measures. And, we want to put it to the Australian people at the next election. Ask them the question. Who do you trust to deliver lower taxes? We’ve already delivered $144 billion dollars of tax relief tonight. We’re delivering $158 billion dollars of tax relief, which will put more than one thousand dollars in the pockets of millions of Australians.

MARK RILEY:

But Labor will say they’ll match that and go further.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we have a number of measures that we’re putting in place tonight, not just the low-middle income tax offset, but also measures to structurally flatten and simplify the tax system. You see, Mark, we want 95 percent of all tax payers to pay no more than 30 cents in the dollar. And that’s what you’ll see from these measures tonight.
MARK RILEY: So you don’t want these passed before the election. You want to argue the case at the election and then pass them after. How are they going to apply to the next financial year?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

They will apply to the next financial year. And the Labor Party has a proposal to increase.
MARK RILEY: We’re talking bringing Parliament back, right?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

We will have to bring Parliament back after the next election to pass these tax cuts, and the key message here, is that the Labor Party have $200 billion dollars of higher taxes. We have a package of measures to drive taxes lower, building on what we’ve already done. We want you to earn more and we want you to keep more of what you’ve earnt.

MARK RILEY:

Ok. The jobs and growth promise. The jobs are here, growth not so much. What’s happening there? Economic growth is down by half a percent on the predictions in the MYEFO. How can we then take as read that your predicted surpluses are going to appear?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

The fact that the economy is still growing and we’re growing second only to the United States among the G7 countries. So we’re actually performing well and we have created more than one million jobs. But there’s more work to be done and we actually are facing some economic pressures, both domestically in the softer housing market, but also internationally, where countries like China and Japan and the European area have started to slow. This is not a time to change direction, this is not a time to change economic plans.

MARK RILEY:

But Australians have had surplus promises before, as you know, and they just haven’t materialised. Why will yours materialise?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we have shown over the time since we’ve come to government that we are moving towards the surplus which we now deliver. We have over delivered on previous promises whereas Labor’s credibility was never there, because they always under delivered on their promises.

MARK RILEY:

But yours …

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

It’s a clear difference.

MARK RILEY:

But yours is a gold guarantee, these surpluses will appear.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

This surplus tonight, of $7.1 billion dollars, is the first surplus in this country in more than a decade. It’s a product of disciplined decision making and an economic plan that is working.

MARK RILEY: And this time next year, will you be here, standing here talking to me, to talk about that budget surplus?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

That’s the intention and this budget will actually make very clear, the choice at the next election, between our side of politics who want to lower people’s taxes, leave more money in their pockets, create the congestion busting infrastructure and that delivers the essential services of hospitals and schools and the Labor Party, Mark, who only want to increase your taxes.

MARK RILEY:

Josh Frydenberg, thanks very much for your time.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good to be with you.