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 2/06/2006

Doorstop Interview
Treasury Place, Melbourne

Friday, 2 June 2006
2:30 pm

SUBJECTS: Baby boom, Snowy Hydro

TREASURER:

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in the year 2005, we have had a baby boom with the largest number of babies born in Australia since 1992. In fact over 261,000 babies were born in 2005. This is something to be welcomed because as our population ages, increasing the number of babies will ensure that as a society we have the economic capacity to meet the challenges of the future. The increase in the number of babies is to be welcomed. In 2004 I encouraged Australians to have “one for mum, one for dad and one for the country” and some people have taken up the challenge. There have been family friendly policies introduced such as the Baby Bonus, the increase in Family Tax Benefit, an increase in child care facilities and it now seems as if all of this is coming together with an increase in babies in Australia for the first time in thirteen years, something to be welcomed and something that will be in the long term interests of our country.

JOURNALIST:

How much personal credit do you take for the population boom?

TREASURER:

Well, I did encourage parents to have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country. Here we are two years later and some have taken up the challenge. The highest birth rate in thirteen years - 261,000 children and that is a good thing for the future of our country. I think also people feel more secure about the future; that the jobs climate is as good as it has been in a long time and they feel confident about having families and planning for the future.

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask you about the Snowy scheme? This change of heart, why do think it was necessary?

TREASURER:

Well, from the Commonwealth point of view, the Commonwealth only had 13 per cent of an interest in the whole scheme and we are a minority share holder. There was no strategic objective to be gained from privatisation in relation to the Snowy and given that and given the concern in the public realm the right decision has been made not to proceed with it. And I think people will welcome that, there is no strategic economic interest in going ahead so it was the right decision to call it off.

JOURNALIST:

Selling off an icon though has not been a problem in the past, why is this particular icon one you wanted to keep?

TREASURER:

Well from the Commonwealth’s point of view there was a 13 per cent interest, we were very much a minority shareholder, we were going along with New South Wales and to a lesser degree Victoria but there was no great strategic interest in this privatisation and so given the fact that we were a minority shareholder, and there was no strategic incentive to do so, I think the right decision has been made.

JOURNALIST:

The cost of the privatisation steps which have been taken so far who should bear the brunt of that?

TREASURER:

Well the people who have paid for it should, which I take it is principally the State governments and to a lesser degree the Commonwealth. Okay thank you, thanks very much.