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 08/05/2007

Interview with Mark Riley
Channel 7

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

SUBJECTS: Budget 2007-08

RILEY:

Treasurer, welcome.

TREASURER:

Thank you very much.

RILEY:

The $5 billion Education Endowment Fund.  What will it buy?

TREASURER:

It will be invested forever and we will add to it with future capital so it will always be there.  What the earnings will do is the earnings will buy first class facilities and a first class university sector so that Australian students can beat the world.  And so that our economy can be strong.  That’s what it is all about. 

RILEY:

Chris Richardson from Access Economics said that if you breathe and you vote there’s something in this Budget for you.  Is he right?

TREASURER:

Well I think there is something in it for every Australian in the sense that it is going to make Australia stronger and better, invest for the next generation, increase the capacity of our economy and hopefully keep people in jobs, and that’s what it is designed to do.  Lock in the benefits of the past, provide the investment of the future and I think there is in the benefit and interest of all Australians.

RILEY:

Do your Government Members have something in this budget, something substantial to go out with into the electorates and sell to the voters, what would you suggest, what are the key messages you want them to sell?

TREASURER:

The message is that we want to keep people in jobs, we want to keep people in their homes, we need to keep businesses profitable, we will have to invest a lot more in a big country to keep our economy going and this is a blueprint for the future.  This is the blueprint of where Australia can go over the next couple of decades.

RILEY:

Will it force up interest rates?

TREASURER:

No, this is a very responsible Budget.  At the end of the day we will have a budget surplus for the tenth time.  It will be about one per cent of the economy, one per cent of GDP.  It is a much stronger position than America or Japan or Britain or any comparable country.  It is decent and it’s responsible.

RILEY:

And it’s not inflationary?

TREASURER:

No.

RILEY:

Climate change, there are some measures here on climate change but not a great deal, when will we hear about the Government’s programme on climate change?

TREASURER:

Well you see we have got measures on the Murray-Darling, we have got measures on the Natural Heritage Trust, and we have got measures to encourage solar panels on people’s homes which will be of great interest to many of the viewers.  Water grants, reforestation – there is a suite of measures but they are practical.

RILEY:

But you have got to make it sweeter.

TREASURER:

They are practical and they will make a difference.

RILEY:

Will they be sweeter before the election?

TREASURER:

We are going to have a report on emissions trading which we have said we will look at before the election.  But I don’t really believe this stuff that says we will do something in 2050.  I don’t think that makes a difference, I think we need practical things now and that’s what….

RILEY:

(inaudible) before we go to the polls no doubt.

TREASURER:

…this is what this Budget is about, practical things.

RILEY:

Treasurer thanks for your time.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much Mark.