Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
JOURNALIST: How do you think the Budget is going to be received today?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We have delivered a Budget which is our national plan for jobs and growth, which is our plan to secure our economic transition from resources investment driven growth to a more diversified strong economy. We have delivered our plan to put the Budget on a sustainable foundation for the future. It is now up to the Australian people to decide who’s plan they prefer. Our plan to keep spending under control, to reduce taxes where we can, to ensure that our tax system is more growth friendly without increasing the overall tax burden, or Labor’s plan to increase taxes to spend more and more and to go further into deficit and debt.
JOURNALIST: I suppose those tax breaks, people are arguing that it’s favouring the rich over the everyday worker. What would you say to that?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We don’t agree that people on $80,000 a year are rich. We completely reject that. What we have done in this Budget is do as much as we can sensibly afford when it comes to tax cuts. We have focused on making sure that full time average weekly earners do not go into the second highest tax bracket over the next three years. That is because we want to encourage people to work more and earn more without being penalised by a higher tax rate. Now the corporate tax rate, a more competitive tax rate helps us attract more investment. It helps us improve productivity which means that we can increase the level of jobs growth and which means that over time we can increase real wages and living standards. That is exactly what low and middle income earners would want to see in order to get ahead.
JOURNALIST: Do you feel like you’ve neglected health and education?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Not at all. We have increased funding for schools by $1.2 billion in this Budget. We have increased funding for state hospitals by $2.9 billion in this Budget. We have paid for that with spending reductions in other parts of the Budget, not by higher taxes like Labor would like to do, but by achieving spending reductions in other parts of the Budget.
JOURNALIST: Thank you.