11 October 2014
Transcript - #2014034, 2014

Interview with David Lipson, Sky News, Saturday Agenda

DAVID LIPSON:

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steve Ciobo. Thank you very much for your time on Saturday Agenda. What is the cause for the optimism that the Treasurer has been talking about this week?

STEVE CIOBO:

Well, the cause for the optimism, David, really comes down to a couple of things. The first is that it's been a very successful year for Australia and in particular for the Treasurer as President of the G20. We’ve achieved and set the bar pretty high back in February when we had the first Finance Ministers and Central Bank got this meeting. When we committed, as G20 member states, to growing global growth by an additional 2%. We already have in place, reforms that the G20 member states have committed to which the IMF have said will add to global growth 1.8% and we're looking to bed down the last few reforms that will make us achieve that 2% growth target in time for the Leader’s Summit, so that's really good news. The second reason is, David, of course, because of the important economic stewardship of that the Treasurer and the Prime Minister are taking here in Australia to make sure that we get our nation back on track. That we deal with Labor's debt problem, that we undertake the kind of important structural form that's going to mean that we stop stealing from the next generation of Australian's to pay for today's spending and actually start to live within our means.

DAVID LIPSON:

Setting a goal of 2% growth is one thing. Achieving it is something else. Particularly in the climate that I was just referring to. Is it realistic for the world to achieve these targets over the next few years?

STEVE CIOBO:

I really think it is David. The simple fact is that the modelling that's being done by the International Monetary Fund shows that reforms have been put forward and there's only 900 of which, out of the 900 global reforms about 700 of them are new. The IMF has done that modelling and the IMF says that as a direct consequence of the very high bar that Australia's set, that the rest of the world is stepping up to, we look at increasing global growth by 1.8%. As I said, we're hopeful that we will get that last .2 of a per cent to reach the 2% ambition by the Leaders Summit in November. There really is a strong commitment. If anything David, what we're seeing in terms of global volatility or what we're seeing in terms of the slow down in Europe, it just underscores even more how crucial it is that we go for growth as a nation. That really is at the epicentre of what Australia's doing with our economic action plan.

DAVID LIPSON:

Infrastructure is a really important part of all of this. What's being done to ensure that it's quality infrastructure? It's the right infrastructure. We have seen some pretty bad examples in China, for example, bridges to nowhere, highways to towns that don't have any people in them.

STEVE CIOBO:

You hear reports about that. In Australian context, of course the government has already outlined a number of key infrastructure projects that we are committed to delivering. We took those to the election and we also, of course, announced in the budget the largest infrastructure package that Australia has ever seen. Between both government spending and the private sector, some 125 billion dollars or there about invested in productive infrastructure in Australia over the next five to ten years. David, this underscores this governments commitment to making our economy more productive to getting jobs growth out there in the Australian community to making sure that we've got a strong and stable platform that we can drive Australia's domestic growth from. This underscores what we want to achieve. Obviously different countries will make different decisions about what they want to do in terms of infrastructure but we are leading the way. We are infrastructure champions. We see this crucial to our long-term national good economic health.

DAVID LIPSON:

What about some of the volatility in relation to the Middle East Ebola? How much of an impact are issues like that going to have on these targets and how are issues like that being viewed by the G20 leaders?

STEVE CIOBO:

It's been interesting David. I've had a number of conversations with people from around the globe over the last couple of days and...

DAVID LIPSON:

Okay, we've clearly lost our line to Steve Ciobo. Apologies for that. We will endeavour to try and get that up for you. He has, of course, been meeting various world leaders as you just heard him say, in Washington D.C. along with the Treasurer, Joe Hockey. Thank you very much for you company here on Saturday Agenda. The news is coming up next after this break.