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

30 November 2011

Interview with Matt Moran

Ten Morning News

30 November 2011

SUBJECTS: Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

MORAN:

Treasurer, thank you very much for your time. Is your determination to return to surplus more about not breaking yet another political promise, rather than protecting the economy?

TREASURER:

What it's really about is keeping our economy strong and keeping it growing, keeping strong support for jobs and making sure our budget is also in good shape and sustainable because nothing could be more important at the moment, given what is going on in Europe, than demonstrating to the world our very strong economic credentials, and that means returning to surplus and supporting jobs.

MORAN:

You're cutting the baby bonus by about $400, the public service is also facing job cuts. Are families paying to ensure you keep your promise?

TREASURER:

No, what we're doing here is supporting families, supporting jobs. Nothing is more fundamental for families than jobs, supporting employment in the Australian economy, keeping our Budget in good nick.

MORAN:

We've talked up the fact that we've got a AAA rating from Fitch. What do you say to mums and dads who are struggling to put food on the table? Why should they care about this rating?

TREASURER:

Well, we provide very substantial support for families - family payments. We've substantially increased family payments for those families with teenagers. We've increased support for childcare rebates. We've increased support for the education tax rebate. What we had to do was to make this payment, the Baby Bonus, sustainable.

Let's get it into perspective. It's $5,000. It has increased substantially in recent years. What we want to do is make it sustainable over time. I am a strong supporter of the family payments system and the Baby Bonus but it's got to be sustainable.

MORAN:

But what does this new credit rating do for Australia? How is it going to help?

TREASURER:

Well, it says to the world that Australia's economy is one of the strongest in the world. What that means is that we can continue to grow, we can continue to create jobs and when people look at us they say - this is a great place to invest.

MORAN:

With fears there could be a major recession in Europe, how badly do you think China will be hit because obviously that will in turn hurt Australia?

TREASURER:

Well certainly our region is still growing strongly but we are not immune from what happens in the Europe or United States. But I think our region has the capacity to grow but what we've got to see is the Europeans sort out the mess in Europe. But what we need to do is to make sure that we don't get into that type of situation in the future by having good budget policy, good fiscal policy and also a set of policies which can support our population like baby bonuses.

MORAN:

Did you fudge the numbers though?

TREASURER:

These numbers are fair dinkum and they're based on growth. Many other countries, particularly in Europe, can't look at growth prospects like we've got here in Australia.

MORAN:

Is there a strong argument for a series of interest rate cuts in Australia because of the global economic environment?

TREASURER:

Well, that's entirely a matter for the Reserve Bank. They take these decisions independently.

MORAN:

What do you think?

TREASURER:

Well, I don't express an opinion. The Reserve Bank takes those decisions. What we do through our fiscal policy is give Reserve Bank room to move if they wish to, if they take that decision independently from the Government.

MORAN:

Wayne Swan, thank you very much for your time.

TREASURER:

Good to be with you.