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 16/01/2006

Treasurer
Doorstop Interview
G’Day LA, Los Angeles

Monday, 16 January 2006

3.00 pm
Los Angeles Time

SUBJECTS: “Say G’Day in LA” promotion, child care, interest rates

JOURNALIST:

G’Day LA, what (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well this is probably one of the best promotions that Australia ever does. Making sure we promote our sport, our culture, our entertainment industry, our food, our wine, our exports into the world’s largest market – the United States. And G’Day LA has been a very, very successful promotion of Australia, It is going to go on for a week. It involves not just fashion and entertainment and sport but also serious economic presentations about the Australian economy.

JOURNALIST:

You think we’ll see AFL football rival American football in the United States?

TREASURER:

Well I think it would take a long time for the AFL to displace gridiron but let’s look forward to a day when an American team that competes in the AFL, that’d really make things interesting. We could have a World Series then.

JOURNALIST:

Maybe Essendon could be Premiers then?

TREASURER:

Well, it would be nice to see not only national Premiers, but World Premiers. And I think I could seriously say that if there were a World Series of AFL, Australia is likely to become the world champion.

JOURNALIST:

If we could move onto politics, the call for a 50 percent increase in child care in the next Budget. What do you say to that?

TREASURER:

Well we have increased funding on child care very, very substantially in recent years -- more places and we have introduced a rebate of 30 per cent on the cost so there has been a very, very significant increase. That’s not to say that everything that can be done has been done. We have always got to make sure that we get the best system available, We want to encourage mothers to get the best child care for their children, to seek out work opportunities if that’s what they want. But these things are always under review and if we can do things to improve the situations for families over the course of the next year, we will.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think it’s a realistic call?

TREASURER:

Well you have got to hold together demands for increased spending on child care, on defence, national security, health. There is a legitimate interest at the same time at keeping taxes as low as possible. All of these difficult and contradictory demands come on a Government. The thing I say is we won’t be letting the Budget go into deficit and we won’t be putting up interest rates as a consequence. The important thing is that we’re careful with Australia’s money. That’s what’s kept interest rates low. That’s what’s kept the Budget balanced. That’s what we will be doing in the future.

JOURNALIST:

Doesn’t the Reserve Bank set interest rates?

TREASURER:

Interest rates are set under an agreement between the Government and the Reserve Bank where we target low inflation and we want to keep inflation low. Unrestrained spending would put pressure on inflation and that is why it is important that Government fiscal policy be also directed at keeping pressure off inflation just like all other arms of policy. Okay, thanks.