Subjects: Company Tax Cut, Reserve Bank Governor’s call for increased investment in infrastructure, climate change.
KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me now, one of Labor’s most senior frontbenchers, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese, thanks for your time. Now Philip Lowe said a number of interesting things in that speech last night, one of them endorsing something you’ve argued for a while, spending in infrastructure to boost the economy. I’ll get your thoughts on that in a moment, but first his endorsement of the Government’s Company Tax Cut. It was pretty clear.
ALBANESE: The fact is that you have to make a judgement about whether $50 billion is best spent on a tax cut for some of the big end of town at the same time, of course, as we know that many of the big multi-national corporations currently have an effective tax rate here in Australia of zero. They’re not paying any tax. This is a Government that’s ignored those sorts of issues so Labor has a view that in terms of the importance of investment in education, skills and training; investment in health, and investment in infrastructure, that at this point in time we simply can’t afford to go down the road.
GILBERT: So how do you afford the infrastructure spend?
ALBANESE: In terms of infrastructure, one of the things that the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said last night, which echoed the comments of his predecessor Glenn Stevens, was that at a time when you can borrow at very low rates there is a case for ramping up infrastructure investment, rather than driving it down, because infrastructure investment leads to future economic growth, leads to a stronger economy with stronger revenues in the future due to those productivity benefits in the right projects and that that capital is available.
GILBERT: What about projects like energy supply, because we’re facing scorchers where you are across the south-east today, the threat of the black out in NSW, like we’ve seen in South Australia. How about increasing the infrastructure in that regard because it’s clearly governments at all levels have dropped the ball here?
ALBANESE: Well what we need is investment in infrastructure, in energy, in water, in transport, in communications. It would be pretty good if we’re rolling out a 21st century NBN, rather than a copper NBN, and this is a Prime Minister who has been reduced to arguing the case for copper and coal, rather than for what’s actually required in the 21st century. And in terms of infrastructure investment, public sector infrastructure investment has been lower in every one of the Coalition Government’s 12 quarters since they came to office in 2013 than it was in every single one of the former Labor Government’s 21 quarters we were in office from our first budget in May of 2008. And the Government talks about a $50 billion infrastructure investment program; the fact is that its own Senate Estimate process shows that that figure is in fact $34 billion. We’ve seen a complete cut off of public transport investment in our capital cities; investment that’s required to deal with urban congestion. It’s no wonder that the Reserve Bank Governor has again repeated the call and the Government needs to respond to that.
GILBERT: I appreciate your time. We’re tight for time with all the heat wave coverage this morning. Thank you for your time and we’ll talk to you soon.
ALBANESE: Well there could be something in this climate change stuff too.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.