22 May 2015
Transcript - #2015134, 2015

Interview with Samantha Armytage and David Koch, Sunrise

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

The man who controls the money that can reduce congestion is Treasurer, Joe Hockey. He joins us now from Brisbane. Treasurer, good morning to you. Now, are you going to loosen the purse strings so we can get better roads and more public transport?

TREASURER:

Well Sam, the first thing is we actually commissioned the report because if you have cars moving better in the cities you’re going to improve the performance of the Australian economy, and this issue is a breakfast stopper if you like. It's one that focuses on how families can get to work, how they can get on with work. Last year, I committed an extra $50 billion on infrastructure and that's the equivalent of eight new Snowy Mountain schemes in additional infrastructure in Australia. We are getting on with rolling that out. But it's got to be a partnership with the states. They run the roads, particularly in the cities. We have partnerships all around Australia and - but unfortunately in Melbourne, the new State Government, cancelled East West, but in other capital cities we’ve got projects underway.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. Let's move on to this issue on medicines, just ten days after the Federal Budget we have seen a major back down on it with the dumping of plans to increase the cost of subsidised medicines. It means a $1.3 billion hole in your Budget Joe. How are you going to make that up?

TREASURER:

Well, I've said emphatically to the Minister and the Minister - all the Ministers know, that if one saving comes off the table, another one needs to be found of equivalent value. This year we’re spending $1.6 billion on new pharmaceuticals including cancer drugs and lifesaving drugs associated with cancer. So if we’re spending the new money, the savings have to be found. If they are not found in a way that is responsible and fair, then you've got to find another way that is responsible and fair. So, it's not going to be affecting the Budget bottom line because the minister has to find the savings in other areas.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Right. Health Minister Sussan Ley has acknowledged the PBS charges were never going to pass the Senate. How are you going negotiating with the rest of the Budget through the upper house?

TREASURER:

Certainly the small business changes are going to go through the Senate. That's good. Because small businesses are already out there using the $20,000 accelerated depreciation and we’re very confident that the tax cuts that apply on the 1st July will go through as well. There will be a number of measures that we expect will go through. We are in discussions at the moment. But ultimately it’s this, if you are going to have new spending, such as on pharmaceuticals, you have to have savings as well. You can't keep putting it on the national credit card. We are trying to be responsible in this regard. We would ask Senators to be equally responsible in return. Please don't spend taxpayer money on the credit card. Please ensure that where you’re spending new money, you actually have the savings to help pay for it.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep, absolutely. Alright Joe, thanks for that. You have a good weekend.