The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of David Bradbury

David Bradbury

Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services & Superannuation and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs

5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013

Transcript of 06/06/2012

NO.054

Interview with Ben Fordham

2GB Drive

6 June 2012

SUBJECTS: National accounts, carbon price, Defence personnel

HOST:

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury's on the line. David Bradbury, good afternoon.

BRADBURY:

Good afternoon Ben, good to be with you.

HOST:

Fair to say you're crowing?

BRADBURY:

Look, it's not about crowing, but it is fair to say that it's about acknowledging that these are very strong figures, they're figures that really do reinforce the fact that we do have one of the strongest of the major advanced economies in the world; and it's not just these figures, you've got to look at all of these figures that have been coming through. That's not to say that there aren't challenges in the economy – clearly there continue to be many, and many of them are thrust upon us by the international circumstances, particularly what's happening in Europe. But if you look at what's happening, today we saw strong growth figures, but this comes on the back of low unemployment figures, our inflation is contained, we've got falling interest rates and probably the most significant thing is the record pipeline of investment we've got coming into the country, particularly in the resources sector.

HOST:

Sure, but why is there this disconnect there, why is there this disconnect between the figures you've just run through, and a number of them , and the reality of how people are feeling, because you must – I think we all know – people are paranoid about losing their jobs at the moment, they feel like they don't have the same amount of disposable income that they once did. People are nervous, why this disconnect?

BRADBURY:

I think there are a couple of important factors here, and one of the most important factors is that a lot of the focus has often been on negative news. I think we need to recognise that there is good news happening out there, there are on occasions job losses and they get a lot of coverage, but there are a lot of jobs being created in the economy on a daily basis but they don't always get the same attention.

HOST:

A lot of them being created in areas where – you know, talk about Sydney, where you live, where I live, they aren't jobs that are necessarily easy for people to take when they're living in the city.

BRADBURY:

The reality is that there are parts of the economy that are going gangbusters and there are others that are not going nearly as well and this is the challenge of the multi-speed economy, the patchwork economy. That's why one of the central things we tried to do in our Budget is spread the benefits of the mining boom. If you look at the figures today, there is extraordinary strength when it comes to business investment, capital investment, in the resources sector. We've got to make sure that, while that strength is a good and a positive thing, we've got to make sure we are able to harness that strength and to spread some of those benefits.

HOST:

How are you going to harness that when July 1 the carbon tax comes in?

BRADBURY:

Well I think a large part of the debate around the pricing of carbon has really been an attempt to talk down the economy.

HOST:

But the Government acknowledges, the Prime Minister acknowledges, prices are going to go up all over the place.

BRADBURY:

No, prices are going to go up, on average, less than one per cent. Overall, the cost of living impact will be less than one per cent. Now, let's put that in perspective. No one wants to see prices going up but if you look at the figures that have been coming out consistently, inflation certainly bears out the fact that cost of living increases have been relatively contained in recent times. But look at what's going to happen. Treasury forecasts indicate that prices will go up by less than one per cent. Compare that to when the GST was introduced. Two and a half per cent is what was forecast that was what the increase to the cost of living was back then. That's taking into account all the compensation factors and those things into effect. The point here is that there will be some increases to costs but overall they will be relatively modest and we can say that and no doubt there'll be a lot of people out there who'll be sceptical about it, but the reality is within a month's time we're going to be at the first of July and we will start to see what the impact is.

HOST:

And no doubt we'll talk about that then. Just briefly, I know you were on hold then when I was talking about our petition for the Defence Force personnel, and I appreciate that you're not the Defence Force personnel Minister but as Assistant Treasurer are you across this, the free flights home for single Diggers over the age of 21, the fact they've been taken away?

BRADBURY:

Look, I am and I do understand that this was a decision that was taken by Defence senior leadership and I understand that that's in the context of the Budgetary decisions we took.

HOST:

Pretty rough isn't it?

BRADBURY:

I think it's important to remember though that this particular change doesn't affect any ADF members who have spouses or children.

HOST:

Well no, Defence are the ones that done it.

BRADBURY:

And it doesn't affect those that are under 21. Now it does affect some. I know there's been some discussion about ensuring more contemporary arrangements. I know that in some of the commentary on this there has been a focus on the fact that when these arrangements were first brought into effect, things such as the cost of airfares were in an entirely different ballpark to what it is today. No one likes to see any entitlements being taken away but I think that in the context of the decisions that the Defence Force have had to take, this Budget has meant that we've had to take decisions where there have been cuts across the board.

HOST:

Listen, I do have to run because we've got a lot going on on the roads. Can you have a yarn to Warren Snowden, the Defence personnel Minister, and convince him to come on and talk to us about it, because he's been running away from us for weeks about it.

BRADBURY:

Okay.

HOST:

Can you do that for us?

BRADBURY:

He was out in my electorate today, so I missed an opportunity today but I'll see what I can do.

HOST:

Thanks very much. David Bradbury, the Assistant Treasurer on the line.