Wesfarmers boss calls budget draconian


ColesThe chairman of Australia’s biggest retail conglomerate Wesfarmers says the federal government has been spinning a draconian budget message.

However, Bob Every is confident upcoming budget cuts would not hurt Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Officeworks and mining businesses.

“People are asking me, ‘with the spending cuts of a draconian budget that has been forecast, if that’ll have an impact on us?’,” he told a Brisbane business lunch on Thursday.

“Our logic in acquiring Coles is that it is far more robust because people still have to eat.”

When asked if he was calling the budget draconian, he said, “treasurer Joe Hockey has tried hard to make it sound draconian.”

Tuesday’s budget could include a new $10 billion infrastructure package funded by a “special immediate measure” on high income earners, Fairfax Media reports.

Every, also the chairman of building products supplier Boral, told AAP he would like to see stimulus to boost construction of new homes, adding also that he did not believe “a tax on the wealthy” would impact on retail and housing affordability.

Hockey is expected to forecast a deficit for the 2014/15 financial year of about $31 billion, with a projected return to balance in 2018/19 and a surplus of one per cent of GDP by 2023/24.


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