The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 23/04/2001

Transcript No. 2001/037

Transcript
of
Hon Peter Costello MP
Treasurer

Doorstop Interview
South Australian Liberal Party Convention
Saturday, 21 April 2001
2.15 pm local time

E&OE

SUBJECTS: South Australian election, Shell / Woodside, Mitsubishi



JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, youre here to help to kickstart the standing of the South Australian Liberals, theyve been behind in election opinion polls for quite some time now. Here in the run up to the election, what do you say to the voters of South Australia to help your SA colleagues to be returned?

TREASURER:

Well I think John Olsen and his team have done a very good job in managing the State of South Australia. Theyve got some very good projects going, I think, they have the runs on the board and I think they are entitled to finish the job of good economic management. And I dont see their opponents, seriously, putting any significant proposals forward. They seem to be pretty low on ideas, and I think Premier John Olsen and his team are running very hard to win the next election.

JOURNALIST:

Is that going to be the key, do you see that as a key element of the Liberals re-election campaign in South Australia, reminding voters about the State Bank, economic mismanagement of the former administration?

TREASURER:

You are entitled to judge the Labor Party on their record. And the record of the Labor Party in South Australia, the State Bank and the financial scandals is a pretty, is the best indication at this point as to what would they would be like if they got back into Government. People shouldnt forget that. And youre also entitled to judge Premier Olsen and his team by their record and I think their record has been a pretty sound one over the term of office.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, can you say when you will announce the decision on the Shell / Woodside bid?

TREASURER:

Very shortly. I wont be doing it this weekend because I have got a few other things on, but after the weekend it will be very shortly.

JOURNALIST:

Have you made a decision?

TREASURER:

I will tell you the decision when I announce it.

JOURNALIST:

Mitsubishi officials in Japan have hinted that a tariff freeze, thats what theyll be seeking in order to keep their operations in Australia open. John Olsen says he will be asking to talk to you about that, lobbying for that. Is that something you are prepared to consider, a five year freeze?

TREASURER:

Well look, obviously if John Olsen was to put matters to the Federal Government we would always listen and give him a fair hearing. But we have laid down a program in relation to tariffs to give the industry certainty, as it asked for. And the industry is entitled to operate on the basis that that will be put into effect. And thats the Governments policy. On the question of tariff, let me make this point, that recent developments in relation to the exchange rate have been better within import competing industries and in helping export industry, than any tariff. Thats the point youve got to remember. The movement in the exchange rate in the last year has been of more assistance to Australian exporters and to Australian companies that are competing with imports than any tariff ever was. And when you put that together with the low interest rate environment, you are seeing a very good situation for Australian exporters and Australian companies that compete with imports and I think people ought to bear that in mind. Its a very significant benefit for companies that are seeking to export cars or anything else.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, you say the State Government has been doing a pretty good job managing the economy, yet one of the biggest problems we have here is with electricity and weve got businesses threatening to leave the State. How can you say that the Governments been doing a good job when the markets not working?

TREASURER:

Well, Im not going into electricity matters because theyre not my responsibility, Ill leave that to the State Government. But I think its been doing a good job in terms of managing its budget, I think its been doing a good job in terms of projects, particularly in relation to the Darwin to Alice Springs railway project. I think it has been doing a good job in creating an environment for business and youve seen in South Australia over recent years, unemployment has fallen quite significantly and of course thats got to do with both State and National factors. But unemployment today is much lower than it was when the Coalition Government was elected. Its much lower than it was when the Labor Party was thrown out of office in South Australia.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, just back to the Shell bid, can you, are you looking Monday or Tuesday? Or will you (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

All I have said is I wont be doing it this weekend. Ive got a few other things on, but I expect to announce it shortly thereafter.

JOURNALIST:

Will you say where and how? Will it be the Government that annouces it or will the companies?

TREASURER:

No, the companies wont announce it. The Government will annouce its decision on the issue. In fact I will announce the Governments decision on the issue, and as I said it wont be this weekend, but it will be very, very shortly.

Thank you