Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

12 May, Unemployment, taxation, interest rates

Transcript No. 17
Hon Peter Costello MP

SBS with Dennis Grant

Tuesday, 12 May 1998
6.00 pm


SUBJECTS: Unemployment, Australian taxation system, interest rates, East Asia


GRANT:

Treasurer, it’s 9 years since the Commonwealth was in the black, but the critics are already saying that the cost has been too high, unemployment, slashed benefits, what do you say?

TREASURER:

Well unemployment’s the best it’s been for 9 years. Unemployment is now lower than it has been at any time since 1990 and one of the reasons why unemployment has come down is that small business is paying the lowest interest rates in 33 years. You wouldn’t have helped job seekers if you’d pushed interest rates up for small business. It was our strategy not only to put the Commonwealth in the black but to get interest rates down, to help small business and to lower unemployment and all of that has followed.

GRANT:

I suppose in one sense this is the entre but the main course is going to be the taxation package, when do we see it?

TREASURER:

Well we think that the Australian taxation system should be improved and we’ll ask the Australian people to give us a mandate to do that. Nobody thinks the Australian taxation system is working well, nobody thinks that it is fair and in particular marginal tax rates are too high on middle income earners, so we’ve got to do something about that. But what this Budget does is that it gives us an enormously strong position to confront our challenges. We’ve got a big challenge coming out of Asia at the moment which is probably going to show the weakest growth in 25 years, so we have to strengthen the Australian economy. We have to get the Budget back into black so that our debt doesn’t career away from us, we’ve done that. And now with Australia paying its way we can look at changing the tax system, not because we need more revenue, this is the important point, we don’t. The Budget’s balanced, we don’t need more revenue. What we need to do is raise our taxes in a fairer way and in particular give average wage and salary earners a better deal.

GRANT:

But when will we see the bit of paper, when will we see it before……

TREASURER:

As I said before, before the election we’ll make sure that we put our proposals out to the Australian public, and can I say this, that it’s not a choice, tax reform, it’s a necessity. It has to be done, we all know that there will be a fear and smear campaign against it, but I say to the Australian people don’t listen to it, the benefits are going to be worth it.

GRANT:

Now there are perils, obviously, from the East Asian meltdown and you’ve acknowledged that, but there are some advantages you see, what are they?

TREASURER:

The advantages are that Australia’s now becoming the best place to do business in the Asia Pacific region, this is a great place for companies to headquarter. We’ve got a good legal system, we’ve got low inflation, we’ve got low interest rates, we’ve got a financial system which is strong and is probably going to be as strong as any in the world. Stronger than any in the world with our reforms and so in an area of turbulence you see a strong Australia, a strong economy of the region. It’s a great place for companies to come and do business and create jobs for Australians.

GRANT:

Treasurer, thanks for joining us.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much.

12 May 1998

View more media transcripts …

Latest News

Paris Diary

Peter Costello Paris Diary

Read more …

PPI - Rising Role of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Peter Costello Rising Role of Sovereign Funds Speech

Read more …

The Hole Truth

Peter Costello in the Daily Telegraph

Read more …

Videos

Video Screenshot

Watch videos …