ANTHONY ALBANESE – TRANSCRIPT – RADIO INTERVIEW – ABC RADIO REGIONAL QUEENSLAND DRIVE – FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2020
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
ABC RADIO REGIONAL QUEENSLAND DRIVE
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; Budget reply; Labor’s Working Family Child Care Boost; childcare; manufacturing; economic reforms; energy prices; Labor’s plan to Rewire the Nation; state borders.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY:
The current system provides a disincentive to work. For many women, if they work a fourth day or a fifth day in a week, essentially all of that income goes on childcare costs. So, there is as a disincentive to work. And what we need to do is to encourage workforce participation as an economic reform measure. We know that good quality childcare is important for early childhood development. The human brain develops 90 per cent of its capacity in the first five years. But we also think that it’s good for families to make it affordable. But it’s also good for national economy. We all have an interest in it. And the three ways to grow an economy are population, participation and productivity. This is a participation measure, which is good for productivity. But it’s also, of course, it will provide a bit of an encouragement for those people, families, looking for economic security as a part of a decision of whether they have a child or an additional child.
ADAM STEPHEN, HOST: Anthony Albanese, power prices are major bugbear of regional Queenslanders. You had a big announcement related to modernising the electricity grid, which for the average punter might not set their world on fire in terms of news, but why is this an important step, do you think, in bringing down power prices? How would it work?
ALBANESE: Well, if you modernise the grid, what you do is avoid the problem that is there at the moment, which is that, essentially, have monopoly providers in each of the states that haven’t engaged with each other, that haven’t been good at building the infrastructure that has been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator in their integrated systems plan as being necessary to improve reliability to make sure that power can then be provided at the lowest cost to make sure that we have a system that’s fit for the 21st century, not for the last one. And when I was growing up, we thought solar was something that was packed into your pocket calculator at school. Now, one in four Australian households have rooftop solar. We know that in terms of new energy, the cheapest form is renewables. But this will enable it to be put into the grid in a reliable fashion. But it’s also technology neutral, so that other forms of energy, as well, could operate in an integrated way. And we can maximise output and minimise costs. This is common sense reform that the market operator, the group who know more about these issues than any politician, are saying is vital micro-economic reform that will really drive lower costs. It’ll help manufacturing. It will really help people in regional Queensland.
STEPHEN: A war of words is erupted, which is getting quite ugly, really, between leaders in Queensland and New South Wales over Queensland’s continued insistence that New South Wales must have 28 straight days of no untraced community transmission before it is willing to reopen the border to the majority of the state. You’ve been sitting at the Federal level, obviously. You’re not responsible for state governments. But you surely have an opinion on the border closure at the moment. Do you think it’s in the national interest for Queensland to keep its border closed to New South Wales?
ALBANESE: Well, I certainly think that Annastacia Palaszczuk is doing the right thing by listening to the health advice. And when you look at the figures which are there, Queensland has been successful. And Annastacia’s priority, I know, has been to protect Queenslanders. And if you look at Queensland’s economy, as well as Western Australia’s, it is a fact that the economies that have been doing the best during this difficult period are ones that have made difficult decisions. These decisions, of course, are all made by the National Cabinet as well. I haven’t been critical of any of the state leaders. It seems to me that Scott Morrison wants to chair the so-called National Cabinet that isn’t really a cabinet and doesn’t really act like it’s national, where they make decisions, hand over those decisions to the states and territories and then complain about the outcomes. Tasmania’s border, they announced a long time ago now, would be closed until the first of December. And Tasmania is a state whereby tourism as a proportion of its economy is larger than any other state in Australia. And we haven’t heard one word of criticism by anyone from the Liberal and National parties about that. And certainly, the fact that there have been outbreaks in recent days in New South Wales, which the origins of which haven’t been able to be traced, is of concern. I don’t want to say economic restrictions. But you do have to make sure that you look up the health first. Because if you don’t do that, then the economic hardships will be greater.