Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Tubes: We’re joined right now by the Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham. Welcome Minister to Tripe M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes.
Birmingham: Good morning guys great to be with you.
Woody: You actually called us. Were you calling for the free fuel frenzy on Triple M? Because we just put someone on the standby list for that thousand dollars worth of free fuel.
Birmingham: It’s a little bit far for me to go to collect. But I’m sure I can find somebody who would be very happy to jump on in. Fuel is a big part of what we did with the Budget last night.
Tubes: It certainly is. It certainly is Minister. How important is that cut of 22 cents per litre for six months for the average Australian?
Birmingham: Look, it’s very important for people in terms of getting to work, getting kids to school, getting out to sport and recreational activities. All of those things add up to costs. What we’ve seen from the war in Ukraine is oil prices spiking. Now, we know those increases are going to come off over a period of time, but they’re hurting right now, and so that’s why we’re putting action in right now, halving the fuel excise 22 cents a litre, which is going to mean real savings, 15 bucks each time somebody fills up their car on average, as well as targeted payments to those Australians on low or middle incomes or fixed incomes to really make sure that they get the support while we just ride through this tough patch.
Woody: So this is supposed to be already in play, yeah?
Birmingham: So, we will have the laws passed for this today and then it will flow through to the bowser, probably over the next week or two. Fuel excise is not paid at the pump, it’s paid further back when oil is refined and so on. So it’ll take a week or two but motorists will see the difference pretty quick.
Woody: Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, can I ask you this, I’m stat-mad. I love statistics, and in fact, I showed Tubes my statistic book today.
Tubes: It was impressive.
Woody: But I just want to break this down, because there’s a lot of information in this Budget, and I want to know specifically what it means for southern Tasmanians. So these are my stats, alright? Average income of southern Tasmanians - $46,000, $41,000 after tax. Average rent repayments/mortgage repayments - $575 per week. This leaves $223 to live for the average southern Tasmanian. How much better off, per week, is someone in Hobart going to be?
Birmingham: Well, so someone in those circumstances will receive all of the $420 payment for the low and middle income tax offset boost. Now that means it will take that up to around $1500 per person extra that they may get back, depending on exactly how much tax they’re paying. They may also be eligible, in different circumstances, for the $250 payment, if they’re receiving any different type of pension or income support from government. So, these additional payments, which are aligned also with cheaper medicines – more than 2.4 million Australians and so many people across southern Tassie would get that benefit as well. But also, crucially, this is a Budget about keeping the long term plans that are growing our economy strong. So, that’s where we’re making sure we can continue to invest in ways that keep business growing and keep driving down unemployment, which in Tasmania is already nudged below four per cent, down to 3.9 per cent in the latest stats.
Tubes: We know there’s an election coming Minister. Is this a Budget to win an election?
Birmingham: This is a Budget with a long term economic plan. It’s a Budget where we are making sure that, out of stronger economic growth, we’re lowering the levels of debt the country would’ve faced and there’ll be smaller deficits in the future. But also we’ve heard the fact that Australians are hurting at present, so that’s why there’s practical, responsible, temporary and targeted assistance to deal with those things like the oil price and petrol price spikes, help for families and small businesses right throughout the budget. But it really does have the eye for long term investment in manufacturing, investment in areas of agriculture, investment to make sure that we keep those jobs growing, which is keeping Australia in a far stronger position than much of the rest of the world.
Woody: Scott, Simon Birmingham sorry, we just want to ask, when is the election coming? Because we’re hearing it’s going to be within a couple of days.
Birmingham: Well, the election will be in May. It will basically be May 7, May 14 or May 21, take your pick. But that means it will be called within the next few weeks.
Woody: And finally, who does the finances and the budget in your house?
Birmingham: My wife!
Birmingham: You got it in one!
Tubes: Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham thanks so much for joining us on Triple M Breakfast with Woody and Tubes.
Birmingham: Thanks guys my pleasure.