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Federal Shadow Minister for Finance Andrew Robb

Sky News Interview With David Speers And Penny Wong Regarding Kevin Rudd’s Northern Territory Thought Bubble

Victor P Taffa

*Sky News interview – David Speers and Penny Wong – Monday 19 August 16:20

SPEERS:

What is the plan in relation to cutting the company tax rate for the Northern Territory and how would you pay for that?

WONG:

Well there are a number of aspects as you might recall to the Northern Australia plan, and you mentioned one of them. In relation to the company tax benefit shall we call it what we made clear and the Prime Minister made clear in his press conference as well as the policy document is that we do have to go through a process of working through how you would deliver that tax benefit, and that would include how you would offset the effective spend. And we laid out a process of discussion and consultation with the territory and of course, that wouldn’t cut in till well after the end of the forward estimates. But not withstanding that, you would obviously have to go through an appropriate process.

SPEERS:

Ok, but what would you like to see the company tax rate cut to in the Northern Territory?

WONG:

Oh, look, I’m not going to pre-empt those discussions. I think, ah, there is, there is obviously a policy benefit in trying to ensure we gain some greater investment in the northern part of Australia, for reasons the Prime Minister outlined.

SPEERS:

It’s not a gotcha question though, Minister. I’m just asking if you share the Prime Minister’s policy vision on this particular issue?

WONG:

Oh look I think there is benefit in making sure we, we, we get the right investment environment for all of Australia, but in particular, Northern Australia and I’ll certainly support  the policy position that was put out.

SPEERS:

By doing what? By cutting the company tax rate by how much?

WONG:

Well, that is one of the giving a tax benefit is one of the things in the policy that is discussed and the Prime Minister has laid out a process for that.

SPEERS:

But ok, but just to be clear, what would you like to see the company tax rate be?

WONG:

It is not the only issue, I mean, there was a discussion about, it was a discussion…

SPEERS:

But what do you want the company tax rate to be?

WONG:

Well I’m not going to be drawn on that. The Prime Minister has indicated what his preference is. We’ll go through the process that has been outlined.

SPEERS:

But do you share, do you agree with him or not?

WONG:

And I’ll tell you the difference between us and the oh come on David! He’s indicated what his preference is, which is a reduction of about a third, and I’ve said to you we’ll go through a process of working through what is the best way to deliver a tax benefit for companies in the Northern Territory. it’s not the only aspect of the policy. I know you want to focus on that.

SPEERS:

I’m just wondering whether you agree with him or not. Do you share his preference?

WONG:

…there are a number of other aspects…one of them is looking at how you might encourage greater foreign investment for the northern part of Australia. I think that is a very sensible public policy position. But you know there were a number of aspects to that policy which were announced

SPEERS:

I just don’t know why you can’t say you share the Prime Minister’s view that the company tax rate should be 20 %.

WONG:

We’ve said we want a tax benefit for, for companies which invest in the Northern Territory. The Prime Minister has indicated – you know his preference and I’ve said there is a five-year process which the Prime Minister has also spoken about to take – to work out how that is to be delivered and how you’d offset that.

SPEERS:

Alright Finance Minister, Penny Wong, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon.

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