31 March 2015
Transcript - #2015068, 2015

Doorstop interview, Melbourne

TREASURER:

Any questions?

REPORTER:

[Inaudible] Are you looking at the age you can access superannuation? Is that something you are looking at to make it more affordable for the Government?

TREASURER:

Look, when superannuation was introduced in 1992, life expectancy was 72. Life expectancy today is 82. It’s certainly going to 100. So, we’re very mindful of the changing demographics in Australia. We will have more to say about retirement income and the planning for retirement income in the not too distant future.

REPORTER:

As in the Budget?

TREASURER:

[Inaudible] In the not too distant future.

REPORTER:

[Inaudible question]

TREASURER:

Look, Minister Pyne has answered questions on that behalf. We are absolutely determined to have reform in higher education to give more Australians the opportunity to get a better education and give more Australians from lower income households the opportunity to, in fact, get a free education as was expected.

REPORTER:

There is consensus with Labor that adjustments need to be made to superannuation. Would you consider working with Labor to make that happen?

TREASURER:

Look, we are well prepared to work in a bipartisan manner with the Labor Party to have real reform of the taxation system. It would be better and longer lasting for the taxation system to have stability and certainty that comes from bipartisanship. Now, the Labor Party is more than welcome to contribute to this process that we’re embarking on. I look forward to their submissions. And importantly, we stand ready to have discussions with them.

REPORTER:

The main criticism coming from key stakeholders is that there was a review conducted by Ken Henry a couple of years ago and nothing sort of came about from that. So, what’s your plan in terms of putting all this into action?

TREASURER:

Well, Ken Henry was a different review under a different government. We’re focused on carrying the community with us on this reform process, building a system that is sustainable for the next 30 or 40 years. Importantly, engaging the community in the recommendations. And quite obviously, there continues to be extraordinarily dynamic change in the nature of the current tax system as a result of the changing nature of the economy.

REPORTER:

To what degree are you entertaining a crack-down on the super concessions used by well-off Australians?

TREASURER:

Look, we’ll have more to say about the retirement income system in the future – in the near future but I’d say this: we want to see a retirement income system that is sustainable, that is affordable, that is deliverable and, importantly, ensures that Australians can live with dignity on the basis of their own hard work till the day they die. And obviously there have been demographic pressures on the retirement income system. There is also structural pressures on the retirement income system. We’ll have more to say about that in the not too distant future.

REPORTER:

Alex Malley from the CPA says that the Government didn’t consult with them at all about this. Who have you exactly been consulting with?

TREASURER:

We’ve consulted with the Business Council, with ACCI. I delivered a speech to ACOSS yesterday. If any one group is unhappy about the level of consultation, they’re more than welcome to give us a call.