ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; Budget in reply; childcare; energy prices; manufacturing.
DAVID KOCH, HOST: Anthony Albanese has given his Budget reply, outlining his roadmap out of the pandemic. The centrepiece includes big savings on childcare, which would slash out-of-pocket costs for some parents to around just $10 a day. The $6.2 billion plan does that by scrapping the childcare subsidy cap and lifting the maximum subsidy rate to 90 per cent, tapering off for families earning up to $530,000 a year. The Opposition Leader also pledged $20 billion to rebuild and modernise the national electricity grid, creating thousands of jobs. He also recommitted to improving social housing, creating an Australian Centre for Disease Control and getting trains built in Australia. We’re joined now by Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Kochie.
KOCH: Childcare was the focus. How can you guarantee that childcare centres won’t just keep upping prices to take advantage of this?
ALBANESE: That was part of the announcement, Kochie. We are going to task the ACCC to make sure that they put in place some rules and regulations to make sure that does not happen. That is so that the full benefit is passed on to families. This is an important economic reform. You have a whole lot of mums in particular, but some dads as well, out there who, if they work a fourth or fifth day in a week, they get penalised 80-90, sometimes 100 per cent goes straight out the door in childcare costs. That is a handbrake on our economy and on productivity. That is why this is an important economic reform. This is not about welfare. This is about how we get the economy going again. You know, Kochie, as an economist, the big Ps. Population, well that is going nowhere. Productivity and participation. This will make a big difference to the last two as well as give people that of comfort if they’re thinking about having an additional child as well.
KOCH: You were highly critical of the Federal Budget. At this stage, are there any areas that you are going to look to block in the Parliament?
ALBANESE: The Budget went through the House of Representatives in terms of the supply bills yesterday. We voted for it. We do not see, the Labor Party, since something happened just up the hill here in 1975, our view about blocking supply is pretty clear. We will examine a whole range of measures in the Budget. One of the things that I am concerned about is the number of pots that have been set up of money for discretionary spending by ministers. When you look at sports rorts and a range of other things that have occurred, quite frankly, unless there are proper rules around, I do not want to see land bought for $33 million that is only worth $3 million. I do not want to see the sports rorts repeated either.
KOCH: How will your energy plan drive down prices?
ALBANESE: The big problem we have, Kochie, as you know, is essentially last century’s grid in terms of transmission. It was a century where we thought of solar panels, when you and I were at school or university, as things that went on calculators. Now, one in four Australian households has solar on the roof. We need to make sure that the grid actually functions properly. What that will do is lower energy prices. That is part of the problem. With reliability, with stability, that will make an enormous difference. We have in the states is essentially a monopoly of providers of transmission. We have had real problems getting the infrastructure built at the lowest cost, which is then passed on to the users of energy. So, this will make a substantial difference as well. It is something that is recommended, this is not our idea. This is the idea of the Australian Energy Market Operator. They have already put in place all of the planning and they have identified the project.
KOCH: Just quickly for all of us fans of the Utopia television series, what is your train policy? Not the introduction of a very fast train, is it?
ALBANESE: That we should build them here. We have bought trains from overseas. They are too high for the tunnels, they do not fit the stations, they are the wrong gauge. NSW has bought a ferry that if it goes down the Parramatta River, it cannot go under a bridge with people on top, because we will lose them. The fact is that every single rail purchase from overseas has been problematic. Last year I visited the Downer factory in Maryborough in Queensland, they have been making trains since the 19th century. We should be doing it here.
KOCH: Anthony Albanese, appreciate your time. Thank you.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Kochie.