Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Geelong bypass, road funding, problem gambling, election, Australias future - Doorstop Interview, Geelong

Doorstop Interview
Geelong

Friday, 14 September 2007
9.30 am

 

SUBJECTS: Geelong bypass, road funding, problem gambling, election, Australia’s future

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, do Victorian Liberals now support this route that has been selected?  During the election campaign there was an alternative route proposed.

TREASURER:

Well the Federal Government has funded the bypass with $186 million.  The important thing is to get the bypass built.  There has been discussion about the route.  The route has been decided upon.  The important thing is to get the project finished, and I look forward to being back here in 2009 and opening it and driving along it. 

JOURNALIST:

And will a Costello-led government give Victoria more roads funding as the (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well let me make this point: that the Commonwealth funding under Auslink is now the greatest infrastructure programme that Australia has ever seen.  We have $22 billion going into infrastructure from 2009.  Not only is the Commonwealth now building national highways, which of course is its first responsibility, but we are now, under our Auslink programme, coming into strategic state arterial roads – and this is one of them.  A road like this in the past would never have received Commonwealth funding because it wasn’t a national highway. And of course there were other projects that the Commonwealth is going to build here in Victoria, projects that we are opening in the next couple of months like the Pakenham bypass, projects like the Albury bypass, and we are very keen under a national programme to renew and modernise Australia’s infrastructure. 

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, how are you going to soften your image?

TREASURER:

Well I am going to continue to talk about what plans we have for Australia’s future.  There is a lot to be done.  We have to address the great issue of climate change and the environment, water and irrigation and drought.  There is work to be done on education and we are building an Endowment Fund which will fund Australia’s educational institutions for generations to come.  We need to keep tax low, we need to be, amongst the countries of the developed world, the country which has a low tax regime to keep our business profitable and competitive.  And we need to find jobs for everyone who wants to work.  These are the things that Australia needs to do in the next generation, these are the things that I am committed to. 

JOURNALIST:

Are governments like Mr Brumby’s too reliant on poker machine revenue?

TREASURER:

Well I think poker machines do a lot of social damage.  We have the highest rate in the world of problem gambling and that is led by poker machines.  I regret that we have so many poker machines in Australia.  I would like to see less.  And I think that governments have to work together to address this problem gambling phenomenon.  People are losing homes, jobs, families because essentially they have an addiction, an addiction to gambling.  And there is so much that can be done.  We have a Commonwealth council that is seeking to work with States – because the States introduced poker machines and the States regulate them – but we are seeking to work with them to address this question of problem gambling.   

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of Labor’s new ad campaign about the confusion with the changeover of leadership (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Just an advertising campaign. 

JOURNALIST:

Will it have much traction?

TREASURER:

I don’t think so. 

JOURNALIST:

The reported polling in New South Wales is showing that the Liberals could lose 10 seats in that State alone, does that accord with your own (inaudible)…?

TREASURER:

Look, I saw that in the Daily Telegraph in Sydney today – Labor polling had been released with the Daily Telegraph.  When secret party political polling gets released to newspapers it is generally not very reliable. 

JOURNALIST:

They are hardly playing the underdog though, are they?

TREASURER:

No, you are quite right.  You are now seeing a great deal of triumphalism from Kevin Rudd.  He thinks he has got it in the bag.  You see a growing arrogance from Mr Rudd and the Labor Party.  And they are taking the Australian people for granted and I say to the Australian people that this election has not been called yet and the growing arrogance that you see from Kevin Rudd in Opposition would be truly a worrisome thing if he were to get into Government. 

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of suggestions from your own party that your image does need a bit of an overhaul?

TREASURER:

Well I think it is important to keep talking about the things that are of concern to Australians:- an economy where you can get a job, get a mortgage, keep a house, run a business, get an education for your children, where we can address the great issues of climate change and water.  These are the things that people care about and they are the things they expect their elected leaders to deal with.  And I would say this to you, compare where we are as an economy now to where we were when Labor was running things.  We have got 2.2 million new jobs, we have got interest rates lower and we have had the longest period of economic growth in Australian history.  This is not an accident, it is not a fluke, it took a lot of hard work.  We had a report from the International Monetary Fund based in Washington yesterday.  They surveyed every economy in the world, 160 economies.  And they paid tribute to the steps that have been put in place in Australia to grow this economy.  And they hold it up as a model.  Now, this wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a fluke, didn’t just do itself.  It takes a lot of work. 

JOURNALIST:

So you reject the idea that you have got an image problem?

TREASURER:

Well I think the important thing is to deliver and the Australian people pay on results.  That is what they want, they want results.  They want jobs, they want houses, they want business.

JOURNALIST:

So image is irrelevant?

TREASURER:

Substance is what counts.  You have got to have substance in politics if you are going to deliver jobs, if you are going to deliver successful businesses, if you are going to have good health care, if you are going to have good education.  It is results that people want.  Okay, thanks.

14 Sep 2007

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