SUBJECT/S: Budget 2015

JONATHON KENDALL: What does the Opposition make of last night’s Budget? Tony Burke is Labor’s finance spokesperson, good morning to you. Are you happy Mr Burke with the Budget last night?

TONY BURKE, SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER AND MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: Good to be back on the station Jonathan. If I start with the positive, you’ve just referred to the small business changes –   


BURKE: Chris Bowen was straight out of the blocks last night on ABC TV, made it clear we’re inclined to support the measures that are there. A number of them are measures we had in place when we were in Government but were abolished at the last Budget and they’re now bringing them back. People should be pretty confident those small business changes that are being spoken about, which do have significant benefits and that’s why we introduced them in the first place, look like they’re probably going to be beyond politics and it’s something that goes through without there being an argument. 

KENDALL: So the tax burden for small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 billion will be lowered by 1.5 per cent, you’re backing that one?

BURKE: That’s right. We’ve got to see the legislation and the detail in case they throw something in that they haven’t said they would. But you work on the basis that for what they’ve said last night, we’re supportive of it. For what they’ve said last night, they’re measures that basically we tried to introduce, they’ve either voted against them or removed them after they came to office. If it means that some of these measures are only gone for 12 months then they’re back again, well at least they’re back.

KENDALL: Okay, well the Government has also pledged to help small businesses invest in new tools or machinery and he’s going to provide a tax deduction of all assets under $20,000, which means small businesses can buy as many items under that amount as they like and receive a deduction on each one starting from Budget night. Do you support that part as well?

BURKE: Yes, and for the same reasons. We had an instead asset write-off the Government abolished in the last Budget. We had it with a lower dollar threshold but it lasted permanently, they’ve got something with a higher dollar threshold that lasts for two years. Once again we announced last night that that’s something we’re inclined to support as well. We’ve got to see the legislation, we can’t be silly about it, but people shouldn’t think we’re heading to a big political fight over these small business measures.

KENDALL: The other figure that stood out for me was the deficit is at $35 billion. Is Australia in a new Budget emergency?

BURKE: I won’t adopt the rhetoric Joe Hockey adopted when he was in opposition. I think you’ve got to be sensible when you look at these issues. It is true that the deficit is now double what it was one year ago. On Joe Hockey’s own numbers it’s doubled. So the claims that it was going to go down from day one, at the moment, in 12 months it’s doubled what it used to be. It’s also the case that the economy’s not going to collapse overnight because the deficit has doubled. It’s the opposite of what they said they’d do, but it’s still the case what we need to make sure is over the course of the next 10 years we’re turning the Budget around. If you go to hard straight away then you hit confidence and you hit the household budget. If you do it in a measured way over the medium term then you can turn the Budget around, and that’s what Labor’s been arguing needs to happen. Some of our ideas have been taken up, obviously not all of them, that’s the nature of politics. But the pathway of this Budget, I think it’s fair to acknowledge without being too political, is the exact opposite of what Joe Hockey said needed to be done when he was in Opposition.

KENDALL: Okay, well you spoke a little bit about some of the winners in the Budget. You’re saying that’s beyond politics, the small business changes need to go through. Who do you see as the biggest losers in last night’s Budget?

BURKE: The biggest group that have lost out are the people who lost out in last year’s Budget, where the measures haven’t shifted at all. So the cuts to higher education, they’re all still there. The cuts to family payments, the family losing $6,000 in a year, those cuts are all still there. The cuts to schools and hospitals, amounting to $80 billion over the next decade, they’re all still there. All the Budget numbers are based on those cuts still being there.

KENDALL: Okay, Tony Burke thank you for your time.

BURKE: Good to talk to you.

Tony Burke