By Tanya.Plibersek

30 March 2022


SUBJECT: Federal budget. 

DAVID KOCH, HOST: I'm joined by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Labor MP Tanya Plibersek, and Independent MP Zali Steggall. Good morning to you all. Barnaby, we'll kick off with you. Anthony Albanese says it's a budget from a tired government. What do you say to that?
BARNABY JOYCE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER & MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: Completely wrong. Look at the dynamics of this. Even the upgrades of ports, whether it’s Dampier, Port Headland, Darwin, Bundaberg, Newcastle - earning money so that we can support our nation into the future. Take into account the new geopolitical circumstances that are so precarious and, as everybody sees them in the Pacific with China basically reaching into that area, creating a threat to our nation. Making our nation even stronger, quicker is so vitally important, that we build the roads, build the ports, build the infrastructure, build the dams, so that we earn the export dollars, because in any budget, somewhere the money has to be created. And we are very mindful of where we make our money, from iron ore exports, from coal exports, from gas exports, from agricultural exports because that's the money that comes into our economy. And if you want to talk how you're going to spend it, you have to talk about how you're going to make it, and now with the circumstances we have before us, we've got to really invest in how we make it. 
KOCH: Tanya, Chris Richardson from Deloitte has told us a bit earlier that if you've got a pulse, you've got something out of this budget. Is it a sugar hit though?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN, MEMBER FOR SYDNEY: Like everything this Prime Minister does, this is too little, too late. Everywhere I go families are telling me that they're struggling, because everything's gone up but their wages. What they need is permanent help, not a few temporary trinkets. And that's what Labor's proposing. We’re proposing better wages, more permanent work, permanent cuts to the cost of childcare, permanent cuts to the cost of power bills. Instead of that, you've got a budget here that's for the next election, not for the future of our nation. 
KOCH: Zali, is there enough for climate and to really address climate change in this budget? 
ZALI STEGGALL, MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH: Absolutely not. This was a joke. When I think of these poor people in Lismore and Ballina and up and down the East Coast struggling for their lives. To give you an idea, floods and bushfires have cost our bottom line over $10 billion. It's $6 billion alone for the floods this year so far, and the Government has put in $210 million to the Australian Climate Service and is planning on cutting, by 35 percent over the next four years, the funding for CEFC, ARENA and our adaptation measures. So no, the short answer, the Government has its head completely under water, completely in the sand in terms of what is going to impact our cost of living and that is global warming. And there is nothing to address it.
KOCH: Barnaby, there's plenty of help for first home buyers in the budget, which does worry me with property prices going down in Sydney and Melbourne. What about rent relief, though?
JOYCE: Well, one of the big issues you'll see in such things is getting money into people's pockets. As we know, you’ve got the low to middle income tax offset of a thousand dollars, which is being taken up with a further $420, so that in their tax return, if you earn less than $126,000, you're going to get an extra $1,500 or thereabouts, two people in the house, $3000. Now that really does assist. As well as that, the $250 that goes to pensioners, concession card holders, veterans - that goes out immediately. When we talk about housing, one of the greatest investments you have is housing and we have basically single mothers who with even a two and a half percent deposit can go into a house and the government underwriting the balance of the deposit required by the bank up to 10%, This is incredibly important because the greatest security you have is owning a house. And this has, we are expanding this program because it is so widely used. So there you see the cash. And there you see the even more substantial capacity to do that shown in this budget, a program we developed to actually get you not just renting a house but owning a house.
KOCH: Tanya, yes there are some short-term stimulus to fight inflation measures, but there is billions of dollars going into infrastructure into the future. So, there is a long-term plan isn't there?
PLIBERSEK: We welcome funding for worthwhile infrastructure projects. But what you see with this budget are temporary giveaways to families that have been struggling for years. This government said that low wages are a deliberate design feature of their economic management. The other thing Kochie I'd like Barnaby to answer is what are the $3 billion of secret cuts on page 49 of budget paper two? Here you have giveaways before an election and secret cuts afterwards. 
KOCH: Barnaby, what's the secret cuts?
JOYCE: Look, I'll have to go to that page. I'm not going to pretend that whatever’s on page 49 or something-
KOCH: Tanya what are they? Explain what they are.
PLIBERSEK: Well, I don't know what they are because they're secret. Here's a government that before an election wants to give you a few hundred bucks after making your life harder for years, after voting against criminalising wage theft, after doing everything they can to keep wages low. They think that just before an election they give you a few hundred bucks and it makes up for years of lower wages and higher cost of living. 
JOYCE: I'd like to respond to that. We've got unemployment to the lowest rate, 4 per cent, it's going below, 3. When Tanya Plibersek was the Minister, what women were getting in the in the pay differential was over 17 per cent. We've taken that down to 13.8 per cent. We've actually got more than a million women in work. More than a million women in work. This is incredibly important. I think about 62 per cent participation. We’re miles ahead.
PLIBERSEK: People are struggling to make ends meet and here you've got a senior Deputy Prime Minister ignoring the fact. People are struggling.
KOCH: We’ll have to leave it there, because we've run out of time. Thanks for joining us, I appreciate it this morning.