Interview - Sky News Afternoon Agenda with Kieran Gilbert
KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Let's turn back to federal politics. With me live in the studio is the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain. Thanks for your time. The poll today looked like it gave the government, the Prime Minister, a bit of a spring in his step. Is there vindication or a sense of vindication within the government about those changes to superannuation?
KRISTY MCBAIN, MINISTER: What it shows is that the Australian people are ready for an adult and serious conversation about the long-term vision for Australia. Far too often we've seen short-term political decisions made in the best interests of the government of the day. People are ready for a serious conversation about a whole range of things and superannuation is clearly on the table.
GILBERT: You've got a lot of retirees in Eden-Monaro. I know the area well and have you expressed - have you had any concerns expressed to you, not necessarily by millionaire retirees, but people saying, "we're worried about you messing with super, just leave it."
MCBAIN: None whatsoever. The real reason is we're talking about 0.5 per cent of the population whose superannuation would be impacted. There's probably not a lot of millionaire retirees in Eden-Monaro, but what people are talking to me about is the housing crisis, the cost of living that's going up, real action on climate change, and they want money spent on things that are going to make a real difference in our communities. It is really hard to fill a job vacancy at the moment and we have no housing issues.
GILBERT: But not one constituent retiree has approached you or your office.
MCBAIN: Not one retiree has approached us about potential changes to superannuation. But we've had, as I said, multiple people talking to us about the real housing crisis biting in Eden-Monaro at the moment. It's hard to attract a worker when there is nowhere for that worker to live. We're talking about those key workers in our communities, the nurses, the doctors, the ambulance drivers, the baristas, the people who run our restaurants. We're a largely tourism-based electorate and these people are asking for real help and the housing crisis is one of those big things they're talking about.
GILBERT: One in ten Australians will be affected by the super changes in 30 years. That was a concession by the Finance Minister in the Senate and then the Treasurer in the House of Representatives. Does that change the difficulty for the government in trying to prosecute the case, given that over two, three decades, a lot of younger people will be caught up in the changes?
MCBAIN: That's 30 years away and so much is going to change in 30 years. What people are talking to us right now about is the real crisis that we have, which is action on climate change, housing crisis, the cost of living, which is really biting people. People are asking us to spend in areas where there are significant deficiencies, where there hasn't been action in over a decade. They want us to deal with what's in front of us right now.
GILBERT: The rates are likely to rise again tomorrow. Are you hearing from a lot of your constituents about the cost-of-living pressures in terms of rates? Is it biting already?
MCBAIN: Clearly the cost of living is biting everywhere in regional communities. A big portion of that is the freight. It costs more to get things out.
GILBERT: You've got to go to a division. Hopefully, we will catch up with you.