Doorstop Interview – Sydney | Prime Minister of Australia
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, it’s fantastic to be here at Heffron Park, these amazing facilities that will be a centre of excellence for South Sydney Rugby League Football Club, but also will be a centre for Souths Cares, the charity that takes care of Indigenous young Australians, particularly from regional areas of New South Wales and Queensland. This is also a great centre for the community. Today, we’ve seen wheelchair rugby, we’ve seen basketball, we’ve seen futsal being played with the Solomon Islands and teams coming from around the region to play Australia here at these magnificent facilities that will be a centre of community activity.
I’m very pleased that today, July 1, so many of our reforms come into place. From today, we will have cheaper child care for 1.2 million families. We will have 50,000 additional support for people to get into homeownership. We have increases in paid parental leave. 15 per cent wage increase for aged care workers for 250,000 people in that sector. And our policies for lowering emissions come in today as well. My Government has been determined to put in place the foundations for a better future. And on July 1, so many of those changes will come into place today. Happy to take some questions.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how do you think Australians will react to the news that the Federal Budget is heading for a $19 million surplus?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we’ve said that our Budget forecasts of $4.2 billion will be exceeded. That’s a result of this Government’s responsible economic management. The fact that we’ve turned a $78 billion deficit that was forecast under the Liberal National Party Government just over a year ago into a surplus that’s in excess of $4 billion is a positive thing. It will take pressure off inflation. And the Government’s been determined to do that. Because we understand that people are under pressure with cost of living increases and we need to take that pressure off inflation. So, my Government has been determined to put in place policies that take pressure off cost of living whilst not putting pressure on inflation. And that’s why the changes such as cheaper child care, cheaper medicines, increased paid parental leave that come into play from today will make an enormous difference to people.
JOURNALIST: On cheaper child care and electricity, those are things that are coming in today. Will there be any more relief in terms of cost of living before the end of the year?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, those changes come in. We understand that families are under cost of living pressure. But these measures will make a real difference. $3 billion, together with states and territories, on Energy Price Relief, the cheaper child care for 1.2 million families, the additional support for people to get into homeownership, some 50,000, increased paid parental leave, cheaper medicines. All of these will make a difference on cost of living pressures for families. Because we understand that global inflation is having an impact. But the measures that we’re putting in place, including producing the first surplus in 15 years, will make a positive difference to people by putting downward pressure on inflation.
JOURNALIST: Are you worried Australians will look at the Federal Budget and wonder why their own budgets are still in the red?
PRIME MINISTER: I believe that Australian families will look at the Federal Budget and say it is good that we have a Government that is putting in place responsible budget management in order to put that downward pressure on inflation. They know that responsible economic policy from the Federal Government is important and has a flow-on impact that is positive for families.
JOURNALIST: You can’t confirm any further cost of living relief announcements between now and the end of the year?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we’ve put in place these measures. We want to put in place other measures that have been held up by the Liberal Party, the National Party, the Greens Party and One Nation, including the Housing Australia Future Fund that will put that investment into public housing, that will create activity in the construction sector, that will produce jobs, but also making a difference on housing affordability. We’ll continue to examine and always do whatever we can to take pressure off families. Because we understand that it’s the responsibility of the Government to do that. That’s why we’ve put in place so many measures. And that’s why, as well, we are dealing with the cost of living pressures by having that downward pressure on inflation. Our Energy Price Relief Plan alone will produce a three quarters of a percentage drop in inflation.
JOURNALIST: Your reaction to the news about Allan Border today?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, Australians will all be feeling for Allan Border today. Allan Border is a great Australian. He showed his courage. Anyone who recalls him taking on the might of the West Indies’ fast-pace attack, as he did almost single handed all those years ago. And he’s captaincy of Australia. He is a great Australian. He showed courage on the cricket field. And now, he’s shown courage in dealing with this diagnosis for a number of years in private. But now that it is public, all Australians will be feeling for Allan Border and wishing him the best. A great Australian deserves the support of all Australians at this time.
JOURNALIST: Australia, Britain and Canada are calling on Israel’s Government to reverse the decision to approve new settlements in the West Bank. Why is Australia speaking out about this now?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, together with other partners, including the UK and Canada, we understand that the need for a peaceful resolution in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians requires a settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. We also understand that settlements in Palestinian territories make that more difficult. I want to see the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace behind secure borders. And we need to ensure that any action doesn’t undermine that but assists that. Thanks very much.