The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

22 August 2008

Interview with Ali Moore

ABC Radio 774, Melbourne

Friday, 22 August 2008

SUBJECTS: BCA/CPRS; Banks/Interest Rates

MOORE:

Wayne Swan, good morning.

TREASURER:

Good morning. How are you going?

MOORE:

Good, but I've got about two and a half mins. Very quickly, first of all, Business Council's very critical of the emissions trading scheme. It says we're going to get industries and jobs moving offshore. Can you change the compensation regime?

TREASURER:

Well, we've put a Green Paper out there so we could have consultation with business and households, and that's what we're doing. We're having discussions with the Business Council about the data they've used, the modelling they're using. We'll take all that on board when we take our decisions in the national interest. There's no magic pudding here. There's no bottomless pit of permits. But we understand there are some real issues, and we'll take on board and study seriously their piece of work.

MOORE:

It's dangerous territory, though, isn't it, when business starts talking about, you know, cutting the workforce and moving offshore?

TREASURER:

Well, business wants an emissions trading scheme because they know the cost of not acting is far greater than the cost of acting, and that's the one thing we absolutely agree on. They understand the need for certainty which is why we're having this discussion and going through the Green Paper process.

MOORE:

I guess the question is, though, how open are you to change? I mean, you've got a compensation formula, a relatively detailed one in that Paper. They want you to scrap that and put in another one. Is it on the table? Is everything on the table?

TREASURER:

Well, we're having a broad-ranging discussion with a lot of people out there. We're doing our own modelling. We will be looking seriously at their work. We are open to a full, frank discussion about all of these issues, because when it comes to forming public policy, this is difficult and hard and we'll take all that on board as we go through developing the White Paper.

MOORE:

We talked to Ahmed Fahour from the National Australia Bank earlier. Did you beat him into submission?

TREASURER:

No, I didn't beat him into submission. I think all banks have no excuse for not passing on any official RBA cut, should and when that happens. No excuse at all. I'm delighted that the NAB has made the announcement they will be doing that, and I hope other banks do follow the NAB in regard to that.

MOORE:

And if they don't?

TREASURER:

I've made it very clear we'll look at all the options that may be available to us and...

MOORE:

You keep saying that Treasurer...

TREASURER:

Well, can I say I'm very passionate about it. I'm not going to put all the options on the table either. But I can tell you this: I'm going to stand up for families that have had eight rate rises in three years. They're hurting. When rates went up, the banks put up their rates in a nanosecond. And I understand from the work by the Treasury and the Reserve Bank, there is no excuse for the banks not to pass on an official rate cut. And if they don't do it, well all options are on the table.

MOORE:

Wayne Swan, sadly, we don't have time for me to ask you even more what those options are. Thank you very much for joining us.

TREASURER:

Good to talk to you.