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

21 November 2011

Doorstop Interview

Canberra

21 November 2011

SUBJECTS: Resource Rent Tax; locking in the gains of the mining boom; boost to superannuation; small business tax cuts; MYEFO

TREASURER:

It's going to be a pretty important week for our Parliament. We've got the Minerals Resource Rent Tax before the Parliament for debate today. This is a very important measure to spread the benefits of the mining boom right across our whole economy, particularly to give a significant tax cut to small business. The $6,500 instant asset write-off is a really big benefit to 2.7 million small businesses, plus a very significant boost to superannuation savings for millions of Australian workers; say, for a 30 year old it will mean an additional $100,000 at retirement, plus additional money available for infrastructure in critical mining regions. So this is a really important economic reform for Australia that grasps the challenges of the future, and that's why I'm at a loss to understand why Tony Abbott has got his wrecking ball out again and is seeking to wreck a vital reform for Australia that helps us deal with the challenges of the mining boom and makes sure that many people in our patchwork economy get the benefit of the boom. That's why this is important. It's a vital reform for the future.

And I see today from some of the press that even Tony Abbott's backbenchers are now beginning to wonder why their party is so negative, how they are going to go back to their electorates and explain that they voted against such an important measure which is going to make very profitable mining companies pay their fair share of tax. But they are going to deny a tax cut to tens of thousands of small businesses right across their electorate. They are going to deny a very significant boost to superannuation for some of the lowest paid workers in our economy and it's even more incomprehensible when you consider the fact that this is supported now by most of the mining industry.

So this is a very important reform for Australia which shines a light on the fact that Tony Abbott hasn't got one positive idea for our future. He's just simply responding to, and being controlled by, a select few with vested interests. We're standing up for the interests of the Australian people. We're going to prosecute this debate in the Parliament, it's very important for our future. It's very important for our future prosperity and once again it just demonstrates that Tony Abbott can only say no, but his negativity is no substitute to having a vision for the future and a progressive policy that looks after Australian workers and struggling Australian small businesses.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan, are you confident that you've got the support from the Independents?

TREASURER:

Well, we're talking to the Independents, the discussions are going well. We'll continue to talk to them as we go through the week.

JOURNALIST:

Would you consider amendments that eat away at revenue at all (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Look we're pretty determined to ensure that we have a revenue stream that can provide a significant benefit to the 2.7 million small businesses around Australia, the 8 million workers that are benefiting from superannuation. We're pretty determined to make sure that we progress this measure and are able to deliver for all of those people with such important objectives. Looking after the retirement incomes of the lowest paid workers in particular is something that goes right to the core of the Labor Party's DNA. And we also understand that in a patchwork economy we do have a lot of struggling small businesses that aren't in the fast lane, and this significant tax cut for small business - the $6,500 instant asset write off - is a huge boost to cash flow for struggling small businesses. We understand that but of course the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott most certainly don't.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)?

TREASURER:

No, what I'm doing is having a sensible conversation with the Independents and the minor parties as you do and we'll continue to do that.

JOURNALIST:

The Greens say they won't tolerate their tax being watered down in any way. Could you guarantee that the tax…

TREASURER:

What I can guarantee is I'm going to do everything I can to get this through the Parliament. This is a very important measure. It's one that I've been committed to for a long time and we're putting it in place because it's what our national interest demands. We've got hugely profitable mining companies, we've got a terms of trade at 140 year highs and what we want to do is take some of that and distribute it right around the country to make sure that every Australian benefits from the boom. That's what this is all about. Now Tony Abbott with his wrecking ball doesn't listen to that sort of logic because he's only interested in playing politics, saying no, and looking after number one, which in his world is Tony Abbott.

JOURNALIST:

Is the answer to ACCI's latest requests on the superannuation guarantee levy no?

TREASURER:

Well, we're absolutely determined to put this in place, this increase in the guarantee, because it's good for our economy. If you look at what happened to our economy as we've built up the super guarantee over the years, they were some of the most prosperous years in the Australian economy, and never forget it was our pool of superannuation savings that we used during the global financial crisis to recapitalise so many of our companies. This is an economic reform for everyone. It's an economic reform because it lifts national savings. It boosts our economic fire power. It enables us to deploy our national savings when we are threatened by what is going on elsewhere in the international economy and that's good for business, that's good for ACCI, and it's good for all Australians.

JOURNALIST:

Are we going to see a mini-budget (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

I don't know where this talk of a mini-budget really comes from. What we're going to see is our mid-year budget review known in the jargon as MYEFO. It's due before Christmas. Now I have said on dozens and dozens of occasions in the last couple of months that because of events in the global economy our revenues are going to be hit and as a consequence of that we will be finding further savings in MYEFO. Savings are found in MYEFO generally as we go through that process and it's happened before, it will happen in this MYEFO and they will all be announced in due course.

JOURNALIST:

If there are significant savings shouldn't they be before Parliament so they can be debated in some way?

TREASURER:

Well, look I'm happy to have an economic debate with Tony Abbott, he's got a $70 billion crater in his own budget bottom line. A $70 billion crater. Now we've been up in the Parliament, I haven't had a lot of questions from Tony Abbott about these matters in the last couple of months so for him to go out there and make all these absurd statements that he's making today when he has a $70 billion crater in his budget bottom line before he makes a new commitment going into the next election demonstrates just how bereft this bloke is. He hasn't got a clue. I mean, they are a laughing stock. He has a brain snap every day, he has belly flips every second day and the fact is this - that when it comes to super he doesn't know whether he's Arthur or Martha. They are changing their position day in, day out with a $70 billion crater in their bottom line. They cannot be taken seriously on the national economy. Thanks.