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

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

7 May 2011

Interview with Kathryn Stolarchuk

ABC24

7 May 2011

SUBJECTS: Budget; Statement of Monetary Policy; Mortgage Exit Fees

JOURNALIST:

Three days out from the Budget, do you think you have a document that most Australians will support?

TREASURER:

Well I think it's going to be a very responsible document. It's a Budget which will come back into the black, which will get more Australians into work, and which will spread the opportunities of the mining boom. But most importantly, bring us back to surplus in 2012-13. That's a particularly important objective because of the strength of the economy in the medium term. And we don't want to make the mistake that Mr Howard made when he was in power, which was compounding inflationary pressures in the middle of a boom.

JOURNALIST:

Now, following the most recent monetary policy statement from the Reserve Bank, there are widespread predictions that interest rates will rise. Is there anything in the Budget to help families that are struggling?

TREASURER:

Well certainly we are acutely aware of cost of living pressures and we are certainly aware that we have a patchwork economy. Not everyone around the country is necessarily in the fast lane. But interest rate rises are a matter for the independent Reserve Bank. But over the past period of Government we have been very conscious of cost of living pressures. That's why over three budgets, we've put in place rounds of tax cuts, particularly increases in the Low Income Tax Offset, which gave tax breaks to low-income families, we've increased the Childcare Cash Rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, and also the Education Tax Rebate. And of course a new initiative for families with teenagers who stay at school. We're quite conscious of all that, but we do have to tighten our belts to come back to surplus in 2012-13 so we don't compound the pressures from the mining boom.

JOURNALIST:

Now yesterday we finally saw the Senate inquiry into the banking sector released, what's your initial response to that document?

TREASURER:

Well it's really disappointing to see the Liberal Party backing unfair exit fees as high as $7,000. The whole point of the package that we're putting forward is greater competition in the banking system, and giving customers the ability to walk down the road if they're unhappy with the bank, but it appears the Liberals are in favour of very high, unfair mortgage exit fees.

JOURNALIST:

Will charities get clamped down with the new exemptions [in the Budget]?

TREASURER:

Well certainly we are looking at a range of issues which have been raised with us by the charitable sector, and our response will be in the Budget on Budget night but I can't go into the details.