Joe Hockey Defends His Budget In Speech To The Sydney Institute

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has delivered an aggressive defence of his first Budget, in a speech to The Sydney Institute tonight.

Hockey

Hockey took issue with claims that the Budget increases inequality: “I would argue the comments about inequality in Australia are largely misguided, both from an historical perspective, and from the perspective of the Budget.”

On claims that the Budget is unfair, Hockey said: “This misguided cry is made on the claim that not everyone is asked to contribute equally and that in the future some people will pay more for government services or receive less in payments.” [Read more...]


Treasurer Joe Hockey Responds To ACOSS Concerns About Federal Budget

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has appeared at a forum held by the Australian Council of Social Service and taken questions about the impact of the Budget on welfare recipients.

The forum was hosted by ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie. It was one of a series of appearances by the Treasurer in the aftermath of last week’s Budget.

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Hockey repeated his remarks from a 2012 speech about The End of the Age of Entitlement that an expansion of the welfare system has resulted in extending welfare “higher and higher up the pay scale”.

He said the government wanted to see a “sustainable safety net” and “to make sure that there is appropriate support for those that are helping to provide services to those most vulnerable in the community”.

ACOSS is the peak body of the community services and welfare sector. It describes itself as “the national voice for the needs of people affected by poverty and inequality”.

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Transcript of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s opening remarks to ACOSS

Post Budget Address to ACOSS

Thanks Cassandra. I think I’m mic’d up here. Firstly to you, thank you for asking me along and I don’t think it’s a traditional thing for Treasurers to come along to ACOSS conferences but I really did want to come. I wanted to come really to begin by expressing my gratitude to all of you for what you do on a daily basis. I know what you do can be not only physically challenging but emotionally challenging and I really do appreciate what you do. I really, really do appreciate what you do. [Read more...]


In National Press Club Address, Hockey Says His Budget Changes The Country For The Better

The Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says his first Budget changes the country for the better.

Delivering the traditional post-Budget Address to the National Press Club, Hockey said: “We now have a fire in the kitchen – we have to put it out.”

Hockey

Hockey claimed there is significant structural change in the Budget that “takes us back to surplus”.

Hockey stressed that the Budget makes welfare more sustainable over time. He said much of the criticism of the Budget “is based on politics, not economics”.

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Transcript of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s Address to the National Press Club.

Thank you, Laurie. To all my colleagues and so many friends, thank you so much for coming along today to the National Press Club. Last night we did deliver a blue print for the future of the Budget, the future of the economy and perhaps even the future of the nation. [Read more...]


Treasurer Joe Hockey’s 2014-15 Federal Budget Speech; The Abbott Government Arrives

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has delivered the first Federal Budget of the Abbott government, increasing taxation on high income earners and re-introducing fuel excise indexation. Big cuts in foreign aid head a raft of spending reductions across most government departments with health, education, the young unemployed and seniors hit hard. The government has earmarked $11.6 billion for infrastructure spending on road and rail projects, and will establish a $20 billion medical research fund from a new $7 co-payment for visits to the doctor.

The Budget forecasts a deficit in 2014-15 of $29.8 billion, down from the $49.9 billion deficit for 2013-14. It predicts an economic growth rate of 2.5%, a consumer price index increase of 2.25%, and a small increase in unemployment to 6.25%.

Hockey

As revealed over recent weeks, the Budget imposes a 2% levy on people earning over $180,000. This is expected to raise $3.1 billion over 4 years. Indexation of fuel excise is re-introduced and is expected to raise $2.2 billion over 4 years. Company tax will be cut from 30% to 28.5% in 2015. [Read more...]


A Message From The Treasurer

The first Budget of the Abbott government is due to be delivered at 7.30pm tomorrow.

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, released this video message today.

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Government Releases National Commission Of Audit Report

The federal government has released the report of the National Commission of Audit.

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The report makes 86 recommendations – 64 dealing with budget finances and 22 dealing with public sector performance and accountability as well as infrastructure.

The Commission says: “The recommendations offer savings estimated at $60 to $70 billion per year within ten years. On top of this with the reduction of debt there will be a significant annual saving in interest.”

Amongst other things, the report calls for the income taxing power to be returned to the states in order to address vertical fiscal imbalance and to allow the states to be 100% responsible for policies in areas such as education and health.

The Commission of Audit was established after last year’s election. It is chaired by Tony Shepherd. The other Commissioners are Dr. Peter Boxall, Tony Cole, Robert Fisher and Amanda Vanstone.

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann have held a press conference on the report. Hockey said the government would not rule anything in or out today but that the government’s response would come in the Budget on May 13.

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Download the Commission of Audit Report (PDF)

Report Summary

Media release from Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann.

The National Commission of Audit report we release today shows that the spending trajectory we inherited from Labor is unsustainable and needs to be addressed.

After the last election we inherited $123 billion in projected deficits with Government debt heading for $667 billion, unless we take corrective action.

The National Commission of Audit report shows that without remedial action, Labor’s spending trajectory continues to deteriorate beyond the current forward estimates.

The Government can’t keep spending more than it raises in revenue.

That is why we made a commitment before the last election to repair the Budget.

That is why we asked the National Commission of Audit to identify opportunities for structural reforms to help ensure the Government can live within its means.

Specifically, the National Commission of Audit was asked to provide advice on how best to ensure Government spending is as efficient and as well targeted as possible.

The National Commission of Audit report is not a report by the Government but a report to the Government.

It is one important input to the Government’s considerations for the upcoming Budget.

While the Government will not be providing an immediate response to each recommendation, our response to the National Commission of Audit Report will be our first Budget on 13 May.

In the Budget, the Government will pursue structural savings, which will build over time and help put Australia onto a believable path back to surplus.

We will continue to review and consider the recommendations and advice as we continue to pursue the necessary structural reforms of the Budget and Government spending programs.

Our efforts to repair the Budget are a critical part of our Economic Action Strategy to build a stronger more prosperous economy where everyone can get ahead.

On behalf of the Government we extend our thanks to Tony Shepherd and all the members and staff of the Commission of Audit for their hard work undertaking this comprehensive audit of Commonwealth finances.

Media release from the National Commission of Audit.

National Commission of Audit Releases Review of the Activities of the Commonwealth Government

The National Commission of Audit released its report on the scope for efficiency and productivity improvements across all areas of Commonwealth expenditure.

The report, the result of the first full scale review for 18 years, found:

  • Over the past 40 years government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased from around $6,000 per person per year to over $15,000 per person today.
  • Under the Commission’s ‘business as usual’ fiscal scenario Australia faces 16 consecutive years of budget deficits with net debt rising from $190 billion today to $440 billion by 2023-24.
  • One of the major reasons is that Commonwealth spending will increase by $280 billion over the next ten years with 70% of this increase coming from the 15 largest programs.
  • Spending on most of these programs will increase faster than the growth in the economy and faster than the Commonwealth receives taxes. Aged pension, aged care, health, education, child care and paid parental leave, overseas aid and disability are the fastest growing programs.

Commission chair, Tony Shepherd AO, said today that without change the budget deficits will place a significant burden on future generations to bring the budget under control. [Read more...]


The Case For Change: Joe Hockey’s Pre-Budget Speech To The Spectator Australia

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the government will release the Commission of Audit report on May 1, in advance of the May 13 Budget which he says will begin a repair job on the nation’s finances.

Hockey made the announcement during a speech at an event organised by The Spectator Australia. He also spoke with the British journalist and chairman of Spectator Magazines, Andrew Neil.

Hockey-Neil

Hockey said all Australians had to contribute to the “heavy lifting” needed to get the Budget “back on track”. He said the fiscal consolidation programme to be announced in the Budget “will establish a clear path back to a surplus of 1 per cent of GDP by 2024″.

The Treasurer released a table of the largest government programmes and their associated costs. He said the Age Pension already takes up 10% of all Commonwealth spending, with aged care now the 8th largest category. With concessional recipients responsible for 80% of spending on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Hockey seemed to be hinting at changes in this area in the Budget.

He said Australia had a “serious spending problem” and that “our biggest costs are also our fastest growing”.

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Text of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s Address to a function organised by The Spectator Australia.

The Case For Change

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Introduction

I am delighted to be here today as a guest of the Spectator Magazine.

As many of you would know, the Spectator Magazine in the UK has a long and distinguished record of commenting on politics and current affairs.

The magazine was first published way back in the nineteenth century, in 1828. I am told the 186-year history makes it the oldest English language magazine in the world. [Read more...]