TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
2GB DRIVE WITH JIM WILSON
TUESDAY, 13 JULY 2021
SUBJECTS: Financial support during lockdown; Rebuilding the economy after COVID-19; Sydney lockdown.
JIM WILSON, HOST: Tanya Plibersek is the Labor Member for Sydney and she joins me on the line. Welcome back to the program Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, SHADOW MINSTER FOR WOMEN: Great to talk to you.
WILSON: It's a big announcement from the Prime Minister earlier today and also from the Premier Gladys Berejiklian. I mean, do you welcome the help for businesses and households?
PLIBERSEK: Well, we know people have been doing it tough and businesses have been doing it tough. Particularly in an electorate like mine with the CBD, people who rely on retail, hospitality, universities, all those industries that have been really badly affected in the last year and a half really. So any extra help of course is welcome. I think it would have been better if the payments to businesses actually relied on keeping people on the books. The great thing about JobKeeper was that it kept that connection between employees and the business that they were working for. We don't want to see people let go at a time like this because it's very hard for them to be picked up again when times get better. So I would have liked to see a stronger link there but, you know, times are tough and any help is welcome.
WILSON: How about if a lockdown continues, which it looks like it will continue almost certainly beyond Friday at least, but happens if it goes on for weeks and weeks, should the should the payments increase over that time?
PLIBERSEK: Look, we've said all along that any help has to be responsible, it has to be temporary, it has to be targeted, and it has to be tailored to the economic conditions at the time. So, of course, if we go into a very long period of lockdown, if we see a big impact on the economy, it might be important for the State and the Commonwealth Government to do more. But I think we really need to be making sure that whatever we do is is tailored to the economic circumstances that people are experiencing, and right now we know that people are doing it tough and they need that help.
WILSON: How about beyond lockdown? The fact that it might take some businesses and individuals, households, a time and weeks to recover. The Prime Minister has made it very clear that once the lockdown ends, these payments would end, if you were in government would you continue the payments?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I think we have to have a plan. We have to have a plan to get the Australian economy back on its feet, don't we? And that means looking at short-term spending and investment, making sure that we're doing things that help households right now when they need the help. But it also means looking longer term at infrastructure projects and longer term spending. If you look at what we did after the Second World War, which is kind of a huge dislocation in our history, we said we were going to get unemployment down and we were going to make sure that Australians had a home. We achieved that incredibly well, we had unemployment rates at 2 per cent for years after the Second World War and we saw home ownership rates increase massively after the Second World War. What's our plan for after COVID-19? We want to make sure that people have got a job. We want to make sure the economy is ticking along strongly. What's the plan to get there? I don't really see a plan from Scott Morrison for what comes after.
WILSON: Okay. Well, you're the Member for Sydney. I mean, what's your message to people in Sydney right now? As we're in the third week of a lockdown, and a fourth week seems imminent?
PLIBERSEK: Look after each other and follow the rules. It’s as simple as that. Look after each other and follow the rules. If you're in an area where there's a lot of virus in the community, if you've got any symptoms, make sure you tested. Make sure you do what the authorities ask you in terms of staying home unless it's absolutely necessary to go out. Follow the rules. That's my strong message.
WILSON: Tanya, thank you for your time this afternoon.
PLIBERSEK: Always a pleasure. Thank you,