Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Tuesday, 11 May 2021
David Koch: For more, I'm joined by Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, who does all the work on the budget while the Treasurer takes all the glory, just saying. Minister, what's driving these changes to superannuation?
Simon Birmingham: Thanks, Kochie. Well, thank you very much for that intro. Look, it's the changes to superannuation they're about helping Australians to be able to prepare and plan for their own retirement, but also for example changes like the one enabling people to take a dividend from the family home and put it into their superannuation is also about freeing up housing stock, providing that incentive for people to downsize, prepare for their retirement, but also, of course, create more family homes available for new families to move into at an earlier stage. So there are benefits that accrue right across the board and right around this budget. We've looked very carefully at how we make sure we keep growing the economy and grow the jobs for Australians. We've got record numbers of Australians in jobs, that we keep Australians safe through this pandemic, which remains a big pressure point. And, of course, then how we deliver services in aged care and disability services in mental health. And people will see tonight that these are all critical areas that we've focussed on for future investment.
David Koch: Yeah, that iron ore price has really helped the budget hasn't it? You budgeted for a price of 55 dollars for the year overnight it got to 225. You must be rubbing your hands in glee. An extra 50 billion dollars in tax revenue.
Simon Birmingham: Look, certainly the higher iron ore price helps and it helps to improve the ultimate budget bottom line know we have always, as a government, been very conservative about our budget predictions and iron ore for example, we had forecast, as you said, a fifty five dollar per tonne iron ore price. And we'll continue to apply conservative projections for the future so that people can have confidence that the budget we hand down tonight is a realistic one. And that confidence, of course, is what drives consumers to spend, more businesses to invest and that's certainly what then sustains the jobs growth across the economy. That has also been a key part of our improved budget bottom line. You know, by having more than 200,000 people off of JobSeeker and into jobs compared with what have been forecast our budget bottom line is five billion dollars better off just from those 200,000 people not receiving the welfare payments, but, of course, being contributory taxpayers. And that's the virtuous cycle we intend to continue.
David Koch: Exactly. We are your biggest asset, aren't we. If we can be in a job, we pay tax and that keeps the economy going. And look at the amount of money being aimed at aged care tonight following that shocking royal commission into aged care. Some in the sector are worried it won't be enough to meet demand and train staff. How much will you be actually spending on aged care reform? And do you think we have the resources to actually spend that money?
Simon Birmingham: So people will see the final figure tonight. But it is a once in a generation step up and investment into aged care. And it's a comprehensive response to the royal commission that's Scott Morrison called for and brought into being. That royal commission asked us to invest more to ensure the quality of aged care, the safety of aged care, indeed, the availability in the workforce and the availability of places in aged care were all addressed. And we're doing that tonight in the budget, outlining measures across both residential aged care for aged care homes, but also home care to maintain choice for people to be able to stay at home and receive support to be able to do so.
David Koch: Just quickly extending the low and middle income tax offset that applies to workers earning less than one hundred and twenty six thousand dollars. What does that equate to in people's hip pocket?
Simon Birmingham: So these types of measures can deliver up to around a thousand dollars for individuals, a couple of thousand dollars for couples. And we said always that we would be a low tax government, and particularly at this time of needing to continue to drive the economic recovery forward. It's important to deliver those confidence measures to keep people investing in the economy. You know, over in Europe, they're dipping back into recession, a double dip recession that they're facing there, and so we can't say that we're out of this pandemic. We can see the health catastrophe in India, the economic catastrophe in Europe, challenges right around the world and in Australia we're going to focus on keeping people safe and their jobs safe and our economy sound so we can invest in those services.
David Koch: Minister looking forward to going through the budget papers this afternoon. Thanks for your time.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks so much, Kochie.