Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
TIM LESTER: How are you feeling about the Budget tonight?
MATHIAS CORMANN: The Treasurer delivered our next instalment in our plan for a stronger economy and more jobs and to put the Budget on the strongest possible foundation and trajectory for the future. We have done all of the things we said we would do. We are working on a stronger economy, more jobs, guaranteeing all of the essential services that people expect and ensuring Government lives within its means. We are returning to surplus. Net debt is peaking this year. We are reducing net debt down to 3.8 per cent as a share of the economy within the medium term. We are doing the best we can.
TIM LESTER: One question to close. A number of plaudits for your Budget, but the critics have questioned the compassion for this Budget. They say it lacks compassion. What do you say to those who say that?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We are focused on making sure that all Australians, all Australians today and into the future have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. That is what we are focussed on. That is one of the most compassionate things that a government can do. In the period that we have been in Government we have helped 140,000 Australians off welfare and into a job. The number of working age Australians on welfare today is at a record low as a proportion of the working age population. We are continuing to work to give every Australian today and into the future the best possible opportunity to get ahead, through a stronger economy, by creating more jobs, by making sure that the essential services people rely on are fully funded and guaranteed within the Budget and by making sure that we do not increase the burden on future generations, by making sure that Government lives within its means.
TIM LESTER: Mathias Cormann, thank you for stopping by.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to talk to you.