SUBJECTS: Tax cuts; Education Tax Refund; Retail sales; Joe Hockey's comments
The tax cuts start today - more reward for hard work, more support for the economy and jobs. That's good news for families and good news for business. And of course, these tax cuts build on last year's tax cuts, and of course, they do build on the economic stimulus payments that have been put in place. And what that means is over time a lot of low- and middle-income earners have had substantial support via the tax cuts, via the economic stimulus package.
And of course, we also have the Education Tax Refund that can be claimed as of today through tax returns for those families that have got children at school and are eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A.
Also, today we have some very encouraging data out. Retail sales in May are up 1 per cent. They're up something like 5.9 per cent since last November. I think what that indicates is that economic stimulus is certainly having an impact in our economy. If you compare retail sales in Australia to say, retail sales in the United States, during that period they went backwards by 2.2 per cent. So, a very encouraging outcome.
Also, we've got some extraordinary statements from Mr Hockey, the shadow Treasurer. He has criticised the spending record of the Howard Government. Mr Hockey, I think, has been pretty sloppy. On the one hand Mr Hockey has been out there suggesting that this year's tax cuts should be ditched, and on the other hand, you had Mr Turnbull saying they should be brought forward. I think Mr Hockey is pretty sloppy when it comes to some of the basic facts in the economy.
The retail trade figures - do you think that shows a sign of returning consumer confidence?
I think the retail figures are quite encouraging. I think it does show that economic stimulus is working, but as we've said repeatedly, we're not out of the woods yet. This global recession has some way to go, but it's an encouraging sign. And that's why you could see in the work from the OECD last week and the IMF, the fact that they assess our economy as the strongest of all advanced economies - stronger growth and of course, lower borrowings and lower deficits.
How do you feel about Queensland dropping the fuel subsidy?
Well, that's entirely a matter for the Queensland Government.
Did you buy a lotto ticket?
No, unfortunately I didn't.