Bill's Transcripts



MONDAY 13 MAY 2013


SUBJECTS: Budget, Income support measures, foreign aid

 INTRO: Well, there are just over 24 hours to go until Treasurer Wayne Swan gets to his feet to deliver this year’s Federal Budget. But amid the cuts and tough decisions the Government says there’ll be a strong focus on protecting jobs. And for more, we’re joined by Employment Minister Bill Shorten.

HOST: Minister, good afternoon. Thank you for joining us.

 BILL SHORTEN: Good afternoon.

 HOST: Now final preparations have been underway today, what’s in store tomorrow night?

 BILL SHORTEN: Well the focus, as you said, is about jobs. It’s tough times globally in terms of the world economy, but the Australian record, we’re doing quite well compared to the rest of the world. So, tomorrow night’s Budget will be about promoting jobs.

 We’ve seen 960,000 jobs created while Labor’s been in, inflation’s down and interest rates are at a historically low level. But it’s about jobs and growth with a dash of fairness—that’s why we’re going to spend so much effort to try and clear space in the Budget in the future so that we can look after people with disabilities and their carers properly, and we can make sure that our kids get the best possible education in our primary and secondary system.

 HOST: Now we know there’s some good news for Australians receiving unemployment benefits. Can you give us a little bit more detail on that?

 BILL SHORTEN: Sure. The big challenge if you want to get out of poverty is to be able to find a job. What this Government’s doing is we recognise that it’s important that people be able to make ends meet. So we’re lifting the level at which people can earn some income and still get their Newstart Allowance; so that’s good.

 We’re also providing extra support in the way of some extra money for education, and this is on top of what we’re doing with child care. So, if you’re someone who’s unemployed, perhaps you’ve got family responsibilities, what we’re doing tomorrow night will be making sure that you can earn a little bit more money before you start to lose your Newstart Allowance. So that’s a bit of an incentive to find a job; making sure you’re getting some extra money to help you train or retrain, and there is of course already existing support so if you need to find your child some childcare whilst you’re working or looking for work that should be easier too.

 HOST: Minister, just on another issue, Foreign Minister Bob Carr revealed today that extra spending on foreign aid will be delayed by another year. Now it hasn’t been too well received by international aid agencies, what’s behind that decision?

 BILL SHORTEN: Well, the fact of the matter is that revenues are down for the Government in terms of corporate profit, so if there’s less money coming into the Government then there’s priorities and decisions that have to be taken. I can tell people that we’re still increasing our support for foreign aid but everyone has to tighten their belts a little bit and it’s an important priority we think that we’re looking after our schools, looking after jobs, looking after people with disabilities in Australia. But we’re still doing better than the rest of the world. Australians don’t need to lower their guard at all here. Australia is increasing our support to our region and a lot of other countries in the world have just declined. So we’re getting the balance right and if it takes a bit longer to do these things I think that’s sensible.

 HOST: Alright, Minister Bill Shorten we will have to leave it there, thank you for your time this afternoon, appreciate it.

 BILL SHORTEN: Thanks. Have a nice afternoon.