Australian Prime Minister Television interview – Ten News First Midday

Prime Minister

: Prime Mister Albanese, thank you for your time. Ok, Prime Minister, in 30 seconds or less, give us your top three good and top three bad in this Budget.

ANTHOHY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, I’ll give you all the good news, Narelda. And the good news is every one of your viewers will get a tax cut, every household will get energy price relief, every community will get strengthening of Medicare and every part of Australia will have more homes as a result of this responsible Budget that delivers as well a $9.3 billion projected surplus, the second in a row.

JACOBS: All right, let’s go through some of what people are saying are not so good. So, $300 towards electricity bills is very welcome, but why not means test it? Why are politicians and billionaires getting the same help with their bills as struggling Aussies?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, there are two areas that we have broad support, a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer and energy price relief because we know it will make a difference. We know all Australians are under pressure and it will make a difference. We have targeted relief in rental assistance, for example, a 10 per cent increase on top of the 15 per cent increase that we had last year. We have other targeted measures such as the billion dollars that I announced to provide support for housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, the $925 million we provide for the leaving violence payments as well. So, targeted support in a range of areas, but in two areas that broad support, which is the most efficient way for it to be delivered because the same as tax cuts delivering for every single Australian, we want this to be a Budget for all Australians.

JACOBS: There’s plenty of criticism that those targeted measures that you just referred to don’t quite go far enough. Let’s take a rental assistance. The $9 per week increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance leaves 80 per cent of renters with no help with skyrocketing rents. So, can you really call this a cost of living Budget when it doesn’t help the biggest expense for a third of households?

PRIME MINISTER: This is a cost of living Budget. It is a Budget that has added to last year’s increase. That’s a 25 per cent increase in rental assistance over just two years, the first time we’ve ever seen back to back increases in rent assistance.

JACOBS: But it’s a dollar a day, when Anglicare says that there are some people who just cannot afford any houses in Australia. How much is a dollar a day going to help?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, as part of the measures that we’ve put in place, in addition to the support that we have for Medicare, the cheaper child care plans that we’ve put in place that have reduced the costs of child care. We have had a range of measures. The JobSeeker since we’ve been in government has increased by $120 a fortnight. We have had a range of measures in place to provide support for people on cost of living.

JACOBS: There are plenty of sectors out there saying that these surpluses come at the cost of missed opportunities. When it comes to boosting unemployment payments, in child care, in higher education, in addressing the climate crisis, are they right? Could more have been done?

PRIME MINISTER: We’ve done what is responsible. We have measures, including on climate. Our future made in Australia is about how Australia takes advantage of the opportunity that’s there to seize new industries, new jobs, to create through green hydrogen, green metal manufacturing in this country, to support through critical minerals.

JACOBS: What about fossil fuel subsidies? That’s billions and billions of dollars.

PRIME MINISTER: No, that’s something that comes from nowhere. There’s no increase or changes in this Budget or measures which are there. What we have in this Budget is a plan for the future economy. That is about renewables, that is about green hydrogen, that is about critical minerals. And that is what the measures that we’ve put in place, $22 billion for the future made in Australia agenda, which is about how we seize those opportunities from the changes in our economy.

JACOBS: Those in working to help women leave violence say that the payment, the $3,000 in vouchers and cash to help women leave violence isn’t enough. Do you consider a further injection into addressing men’s violence, such as frontline services and community legal centres, was necessary?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it’s $5,000 as the leaving violence payment. In addition to that, there’s additional support, not just the upfront payment, which is there. In addition to that, of course, we’ve made significant support available through states and territories for things such as additional community workers. The first two payments have been forwarded to states and territories. We’ve provided a billion dollars for emergency housing is what we want, so that women and children escaping domestic violence have somewhere to go.

JACOBS: Now, there’s no mention of the Makarrata Commission here. You did commit to implementing the Uluru Statement in full when you were elected. Are you still committed to the other two elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which is treaty and truth telling?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, the treaty processes are going through state and territory governments is what is happening, We put to the Australian people a referendum. That was not successful. We accepted the outcome of that referendum.

JACOBS: But a Makarrata Commission would be a Federal Commonwealth body, would it not?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we’re consulting about the processes with First Nations people, as is appropriate.

JACOBS: And thank you very much for your time, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

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