Transcript of 7 News interview with Joe Hockey, Treasurer

Interview of the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, by Seven News reported Mark Riley on Budget Night – 13th May 2014.

RILEY:

With Joe Hockey thanks for joining us. You promised no surprises, this is full of surprises. What are the excuses?
TREASURER:
Well they’re positive surprises. I think people would appreciate that (inaudible)…. it leads to $125 billion of new infrastructure. A commitment that leads to the biggest medical research endowment fund in the world, that will double our annual medical research spending, the deregulation of the higher education system. These are positive things for our country.
RILEY:
Families will look at it though and they’d see benefits cut, they’d see charges for going to the doctor, they’d see charges on top of medicines, they’d see petrol tax increases, they’d see cuts to schools funding, cuts to hospitals. They’d also see a 1.5 per cent tax cut to companies. Where is business doing the heavy lifting?
TREASURER:
Well, we’re taking out about $845 million with the industry assistance for business. That sort of business welfare needs to be changed and cut substantially. The 1.5 per cent….
RILEY:
Well the $845 million and the family cuts are $6.8 billion?
TREASURER:
Well, the fact is that at the end of the day, we need business to employ people and that’s the best way we can help families is to have jobs that pay good money.  I want to get unemployment down from the forecast peak of 6.25 per cent that we were left by Labor. So far we’re okay, but we’ve got work to do.
RILEY:
You are projecting a deficit of $2.8 billion in 2017/18, I haven’t got to the word surplus yet…
TREASURER:
Is it in there?
RILEY:
In 2018 or 2019 there’s a gradual decline in…
TREASURER:
Yeah, there’s work to do. There’s work to do. I’m not going to….
RILEY:
So, you’ve learnt from the last mob and you’re not going to promise one?
TREASURER:
No, I’m not going to go that (inaudible). I’m not going to make these heroic promises, when I’ve got work to do. And there’s more work to do.
RILEY:
You said you’d cut and you certainly haven’t missed here, are you concerned at all that you may be cutting too deeply?
TREASURER:
No, because in the first two years, the bottom line numbers are relatively similar to what they were at Christmas, but we’re having a reallocation of funds into infrastructure, building the equivalent of eight times the Snowy Mountain Scheme, in the next ten years. It’s a massive program. Australians have been crying out for better infrastructure, road, rail, the whole lot. We’re doing it and we’re doing it fast, and the shuttles will start moving before the end of this year.
RILEY:
Well, good luck with the sales job. Thanks for joining us.
TREASURER:
Thanks.