2CC Talking Canberra with Stephen Cenatiempo
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: Kristy McBain joins us of a Wednesday morning on some weeks anyway. Kristy, of course, the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories of Australia and also the member for Eden-Monaro. Kristy, thanks for waiting on. I just needed to get that out of Bill, and we can start talking about Parliament being back. What’s the focus on now?
KRISTY MCBAIN, MINISTER: My pleasure. Good morning. Well, Parliament’s back and we’ve introduced yesterday our cheaper childcare bill and today we will be introducing our national ICAC Bill.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Okay. So, yeah, that looks like it’s going to go through, the ICAC Bill, doesn’t it?
KRISTY MCBAIN: Well, there’s been a considerable amount of consultation and work that the Attorney-General has done with the crossbench, with the Opposition and in both the House and the Senate, so there’s been a lot of discussion and getting the bits and pieces right that people wanted in there and, hopefully, it will pass both houses.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: If there is going to be a sticking point it seems to be how much should be held under the public’s eye or how much should be conducted behind closed doors. Am I correct there?
KRISTY MCBAIN: Look, there’s a couple of items that the crossbench has raised including making sure that the committee will have the ability to hold public hearings, and the Attorney-General has said that hearings will be public where there are circumstances that require them to be public.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: All right. Well, we’ll see how that transpires and how it goes through the House – well, the lower house initially and then see what happens in the Senate, I guess. Let’s get on to some grassroots stuff – the recent regional engagement as Minister.
KRISTY MCBAIN: Yeah, it’s been fantastic travelling across the electorate. My electorate is quite large so we’ve been down in Bombala talking about aged care and communication and a range of different services; over to Yass talking about healthcare, roads, of course, and telecommunications; down in Tumut talking about fundraising opportunities for a couple of local organisations as well as telecommunications and roads; and then over to the Henty Machinery Field Day , which was a fantastic event after a two-year hiatus.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: I’m sure people are telling you about the roads. I came down from Queensland down Newell Highway the other week before the real rain, but it was pretty damn terrible. The potholes in those roads are shocking. In fact, I’ve got to go get my steering checked to make sure it is okay. It feels okay, but with all the potholes I hit, for God’s sake, it must be a good car.
KRISTY MCBAIN: Yeah, there is very dry weather we’ve had and then this massive influx of what’s been two La Niña events and now headed into a third has really carved up a lot of our regional roads. There’s a lot of potholes. There’s a lot of roads that probably need rebuilding from scratch, so we really need to make sure that the three levels of Government are working together to address those issues, especially across regional Australia.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Something that’s well and truly in your province as Minister, the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee, that’s being launched on Saturday.
KRISTY MCBAIN: Yeah, that is right. Really excited that the Regional Home Buyer Guarantee will kick off on Saturday so you can buy a home with a little as five per cent deposit in a whole range of areas and the Government will guarantee that 15 per cent more so that buyers aren’t forking out for lenders' mortgage insurance.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Okay. Can you tell us about the Jingellic NBN Sky Muster? I’m not sure what that’s all about, but that will be to do with natural disasters.
KRISTY MCBAIN: Yeah, we take seriously the recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and there have been backup satellites put onto emergency evacuation buildings, or some of our search responder buildings like RFS sheds in areas that where major electricity goes out, and there’s no other form of communication. So, out at Jingellic, there was a satellite put on the RFS shed out there to make sure that if we lose mains power and therefore communications, we’ve got a backup system to communicate with that community. And a few of these have rolled out across the country in our bushfire areas, so it’s really important that this continues happening and sort of gives credence to the lived experience of those rural communities.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: And, finally, Kristy, some good news for Braidwood and Bermagui people: the NBN is going to be upgraded to fibre to the premises.
KRISTY MCBAIN: Yeah, really pleasing to see that taking place now. Both in Braidwood and Bermagui there will be an additional rollout of NBN fibre to the premises which will help a lot of those people working from home, a lot of the people that have moved into our region because they love our lifestyle, but they obviously need better internet connectivity. And right across the region, we see that as one of the bigger issues happening, so it’s great to see that rollout occurring in Braidwood and Bermagui.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Indeed. Absolutely. Good on you, Kristy. Going well. We’ll catch up again soon. You’ve got two more days of Parliament this week. Are they sitting next week?
KRISTY MCBAIN: Not sitting next week, so today will be the last today until we move to our Budget –
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Of course.
KRISTY MCBAIN: – in October. So, looking forward to the budget. There’s a lot of work for the Albanese Labor Government to do, but we’re up to the task and we’re really keen to make sure that every dollar spent is spent well in our community.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Good on you, Kristy, thanks for the update on those issues and we’ll talk soon.
KRISTY MCBAIN: See you next time.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and the territories of Australia and also the Member for Eden-Monaro.