Shadow Minister for Finance - Doorstop
25 October 2022
JANE HUME: So the news today is that the budget bottom line is improving and that of course is because of the good position that the Coalition Government, previous Coalition Government has left the books in. The deficit is coming down, and debt can be repaid. Now we have a test for the new Labor government. The test is going to be, can it build on that good position that the Coalition government left it in? Can the new Labor Government reduce inflation back to that 2 to 3 per cent band that the RBA targets band is and help the RBA do its job, so it doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting? Can this new Labor government introduce a plan to reduce the cost of living today? Not in two years' time, not in three years' time, but today. Can this new Labor government introduce productivity and participation into this budget, support building economic growth for the future without deteriorating that budget's bottom line? So we'll see the answer tonight. But certainly, the test has been laid out for Labor.
QUESTION: What would the Opposition do? If you know, you were in the government's position today to do all of that that you just said?
JANE HUME: Well, we went to the election with $18 billion dollars less in spending then this Labor Government. Obviously, the Labor Government have won. They have committed to that spending, but how are they going to commit even more? We've already seen a number of commitments come out around this budget that wasn't included as part of their election commitments. $2.2 billion for the Suburban Rail loop in Victoria to help Daniel Andrews out with the campaign. This is an election, this is a budget commitment that hasn't gone through Infrastructure Australia. Infrastructure, Australia is an organisation that was set up by Anthony Albanese to ensure integrity in infrastructure investments, and yet $2.2 billion of taxpayer money is going to this investment without any of the economic stacking up. There is no cost-benefit analysis that's been done that stacks up and yet, he’ll be helping Daniel Andrews out tonight.
QUESTION: Senator, you spoke about the cost of living relief as well as keeping inflation down. Aren’t they contrary goals? By providing money for the cost of living relief, you’re naturally fueling inflation.
JANE HUME: No, that's not at all true. In fact, there are policies that you can take that will reduce inflation and relieve the cost of living pressures and that's exactly what the Coalition government did in the last budget where we introduced the reduction to the fuel excise. Now, we don't have the same level of information from the Treasury as do the Labor Government now. But I'm certain that if we were in government, we would be asking the Treasury what policies can be introduced that would help the cost of living right now? Because let's face it doesn't matter whether it's at the bowser, doesn't matter whether it’s at the checkout, and it’s certainly, we know people are feeling it when they're paying their mortgage. Every single day the cost of living is going up. And what we haven't seen from this Labor Government is a plan to deal with it. A plan to bring inflation back into line so that the RBA doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting. If you don't get your budget settings right, it's like having one foot on the brake and one foot on the accelerator
QUESTION: Is the fact that the government topped the budget deficit assignment the foreign government was wasting cash?
JANE HUME: It’s a sign that the former government got its policy settings right the fact that those income tax receipts are up, that welfare dependency is down and that now you can bank some of that improvement and pay off debt. That's a good sign. What we want to make sure of is that the current Labor Government doesn't fritter away from those good policy settings we want to make sure that they build upon the position that the Coalition left them in and that they reduce inflation that they build productivity and participation into their, into their programs for future growth, and that they reduce the cost of living precious right now. That's the real test for this government.