Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
DAVID KOCH: Now to the growing battle over negative gearing. Treasurer Scott Morrison is tipped to make an announcement tomorrow on property investment taxation. But Labor beat him to the punch, recommending tough restrictions for property investors. The Prime Minister is critical, saying Labor's plan will do little to tackle the budget deficit and will distort the housing market. To discuss it further I am joined by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Minister thanks for joining us.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Good to be here.
DAVID KOCH: First up, how many investment properties do you have?
MATHIAS CORMANN: I have about two.
DAVID KOCH: OK. Because our Parliamentarians have 500 all up. Malcolm Turnbull has six, your colleague, Barry O'Sullivan has 42. Do you think there is a bit of a conflict of interest amongst Members of Parliament on making a decision on negative gearing and their own private interests?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No I don’t. Members of Parliament reflect the diversity of the community. You get a broad range of people across the community in terms of the sorts of investments that they pursue in their circumstances, in order to get ahead and Members of Parliament are no different.
DAVID KOCH: Barry O'Sullivan with 42 though, he is not campaigning you or lobbying you?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No.
DAVID KOCH: Good. What are you going to do with negative gearing on property?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The government hasn't made a decision. What we are focused on is how we can improve our tax system. Labor wants to tax more, to spend more. We want to tax better without increasing the overall tax burden in the economy, to strengthen growth and strengthen job creation. As part of that process, in last year's Budget, we reduced tax for small business. Before that we got rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax, to reduce the overall tax burden in the economy. Moving forward, we will continue to have a look at how we can make our tax system more growth friendly.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, because we seem to be talking a lot about tax reform but not much has been put forward to us in the electorate to make a decision on. When will some actual decisions be put before us?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The usual process is that every year in the Budget, the Government puts forward its plan for the next four years. That's what we did in last year's Budget when we pursued various tax cuts for small business. That's what we intend to do in this year's Budget. In terms of our proposed economic reform agenda for a second term of the Turnbull Government, we will be putting that forward in good time before the election.
DAVID KOCH: We will need for the Budget for all of this to come through. Scott Morrison they say could be announcing the negative gearing stuff tomorrow. That may not be the case.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Scott Morrison will be giving a very important speech at the National Press Club tomorrow. I will leave Scott Morrison to talk for himself. Every year, in the lead up to the Budget, the Government considers a lot of information, weighs up all of the various submissions that are put to us about how we can improve our tax system. How we can improve the quality of our expenditure. How we can better get expenditure under control. We make a whole series of decisions that are reflected in the Budget, which is our four year plan for the next four years.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, thank you for joining us.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to talk to you.