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 04/03/2005

Doorstop
Radisson Playford Hotel
Adelaide

Friday, 4 March 2005
2.00 pm

 

SUBJECTS: Interest Rates, Bali, Building Figures, Ageing Population

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, is there a sensible argument against raising interest rates?

TREASURER:

Look, the Reserve Bank has made its decision after reviewing all of the evidence, and forming its own conclusion in relation to that matter, but interest rates in Australia have a target, the target is two to three per cent, and we are within that target, and as long as we keep it in that target, interest rates will remain low in Australia.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned about the sentence handed out to Indonesia’s Bashir?

TREASURER:

I am terribly concerned. We have a situation where 200 people were killed in Bali, 88 Australians were killed in Bali, somebody is being convicted of being engaged in a conspiracy over that, and the sentence appeared (inaudible) light, and I think for the sake of the 88 Australians, and the 200 dead, I hope there is an appeal, and I hope that a sentence commensurate with the level of death and suffering that was caused by that terrorist act is imposed.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, with stronger than expected building figures came out today, do they perhaps justify the Reserve Bank decision?

TREASURER:

No, we think that the housing market in Australia is falling. When you look at approvals, finances, prices from a very high base, we think prices are moderating and when you put the whole of the picture together I think that has been probably going on for a quarter, maybe even more.

JOURNALIST:

What about that discussion that the Prime Minister on retirement age, Mr Costello, what was the answer?

TREASURER:

Well I have been saying for a long time now that we have to keep older workers engaged in the workforce, particularly, people post fifty-five. We have a very high rate of retirement post fifty-five, when people get their superannuation. We are trying to encourage people who have got their superannuation at fifty-five, or entitled to get it, to remain in the workforce and work through to retirement age at sixty-five and then if they have the capacity to work after that, we would like to encourage them, even if only be part-time, have the opportunity to work part-time and draw down on their superannuation.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) Prime Minister (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well, as I said we are trying to keep mature workers engaged in the workforce, and we are actually introducing a tax cut for mature aged workers to help them stay in the workforce.

Thanks very much.