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 04/11/2007

Doorstop Interview
Nagambie, Victoria

Sunday, 4 November 2007

2.15 pm

SUBJECTS: Coalition roads announcement for Victoria, economic management

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible) improve the economy having an operated road system, road network?

TREASURER:

Well, by improving Australia's road and rail networks, what we do is we make it less expensive for people to transport goods to market. And that makes our goods more competitive, it makes them more competitive on world markets and of course it makes them more competitive on the kitchen table. And so what it does is it improves the overall efficiency of the Australian economy.

JOURNALIST:

And some road (inaudible) have criticised you duplicating roads in sections saying drivers particularly on long haul trips become confused when they are on a duplicated section or not. How do you respond to that?

TREASURER:

Well you have always got to build a road in stages otherwise you would have to close one road and build another simultaneously. But this is part of an integrated plan. I announced the Arcadia Section I think last year, it is about to open. We open the Arcadia Section, we do the Nagambie Bypass, we start planning the Shepparton Bypass, then we start planning the Strathmerton Deviation. This is part of a long term plan to upgrade the Goulburn Valley Highway.

JOURNALIST:

How much of this is new money Mr Costello?

TREASURER:

The new money under AusLink II is $2.5 billion. $2.5 billion of new money under our AusLink II Program from 2009-14 to add to the $2.5 billion that we set aside under AusLink 1 which ran for the five years up to 2009.

JOURNALIST:

How does this compare with Labor's plans for Victoria?

TREASURER:

This will deliver about 40-50 per cent more funding into Victoria than Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party. Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party have overlooked Victoria. Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party have set aside no money for the Goulburn Valley. They have set aside no money for the Nagambie Bypass. They have put no money into planning the Shepparton Bypass. People in this area know that if Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party get elected there's nothing for the construction of the Goulburn Valley Highway and so I would say to the people of Victoria - Mr Rudd doesn't have Victoria in mind and he hasn't set aside anything like the planning needs that we need in this state.

JOURNALIST:

Are you resigned to an interest rate rise on Wednesday Mr Costello?

TREASURER:

Let me say, the Australian economy is running strongly at the moment. Stronger than for example the US economy. We have pressures like economies all around the world - such as oil prices. We have pressures here in Australia through drought. But the important thing is who is going to manage these pressures? Who is going to manage the unexpected and the difficult and the fallout knock on economic considerations from around the world? And I think the people of Australia know that by reason of our experience and our policy, the Coalition Government is much better poised to manage Australia's economic future as we managed the economy over recent years.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think a rise will have much of an effect on your political fortunes?

TREASURER:

Well, the people of Australia can look at the record of our Government which is more people in work than ever before, unemployment halved, interest rates lower today than at any time under the Labor Party. Interest rates today are lower than at any time under the Labor Party at 8.3 per cent. Labor didn't even get interest rates at 8.3 per cent during the worst recession in 60 years. So to have home mortgage interest rates at 8.3 per cent during the highest employment in 33 years is just such a world away from where we were. And by reason of that I think people will judge who has the capacity to manage Australia's economy into the future.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think those people who have taken out loans in recent years perhaps they have a memory of that period will blame these latest rises on you?

TREASURER:

Well I would say that people who have taken out loans will want to know there's an experienced team managing the economy in the future. I wouldn't be trusting my mortgage to Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard has said this morning that he doesn't think about losing this election. Do you think about losing this election?

TREASURER:

No.

JOURNALIST:

And how would you feel about being Opposition Leader?

TREASURER:

Well how would I know because I don't think about losing the election. Okay thanks