Transcript - Interview with Sky News Regional with Jaynie Seal

JAYNIE SEAL: Returning to one of our top stories, and superannuation is expected to be supercharged for new parents under amendments to the Paid Parental Leave scheme. Well, joining me live is Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain. Minister, thank you so much for joining us, from Yass. We’ll get to where you are and what you’re doing there shortly. But first of all, the announcement, and some would say that it’s going to cost around $200 million. The Government announcing today that it will see 12 per cent of their government-funded Paid Parental Leave as a super equivalent payment to their super. It’s going to be received well, no doubt by many people.

KRISTY MCBAIN: Morning, Jaynie, great to be with you from Yass. It’s a fantastic step forward into women’s economic equality. We know that women retire with usually about 25 per cent less in their superannuation. It’s incredibly important that we are actually addressing some of the inequalities in our economic system. We want more women to come back into the workforce after they go through those child rearing years. One way to address that is obviously superannuation during that Paid Parental Leave scheme period. It has been talked about for a long period of time. We know that a bunch of women have already said that this would make a huge difference. During the workforce and job summit that the Albanese Labor Government held in 2022 it was talked about as one of the ways that we can help women achieve economic equality. This announcement no doubt is going to be welcomed by many women, but also families right across the country to make sure that when it comes to retirement, there is some equality in that superannuation system.

SEAL: All right, let’s turn our attention to the housing crisis. Yesterday at the National Press Club, the Greens put forward their party’s plan and that included new developers set to build 360,000 homes in the next five years. He was joined, Max Chandler-Mather was joined by Property Council Chief Executive Mike Zorbas, pretty much disagreeing with that policy. What do you make of the Greens policy?

MCBAIN: This is another policy thought bubble by the Greens political party. They’re never going to be in a position to form government, so there are a whole bunch of policies that they put out there that are never going to see the light of day. What we want them to do is work with the government of the day, whomever that is - at the moment, it’s the Labor Party to implement real schemes that will make a difference. The Housing Australia Future Fund could have been legislated more than a year ago, but the Greens kept kicking the can down the road and delaying it in the Senate, which has delayed the investment that was made and the interest that we get off that to start getting more affordable homes on the ground.

They’re at the moment kicking the can down the road on our shared equity scheme help to buy for low- and middle-income earners, even though their policy platform says that they want to implement a shared equity scheme. This is a party that’s all about the protest and never about getting policy implemented. Fantastic that Max went to the Press Club and debated the Property Council President, but we want them to help on real policies that make a difference right here, right now. The best way they can do that is help us pass Help to Buy.

SEAL: And Minister, what is your thoughts on the impact of immigration on housing?

MCBAIN: We all knew that when the borders opened again, we would see more people come back, and that includes our working tourists and it also includes students. They’ve come back in big numbers. There are many hospitality and retail businesses around the country who are happy to see those people back, because it’s filling gaps that they have in their current rosters. We know that it’s important to make sure that we deal with our immigration system in a methodical way, which is why we’ve had now three reviews into the migration system, which showed that it was substantially broken under the former government. Not only were there long delays in processing visas, we’ve seen the absolute shocker of detail, which showed money going to groups linked with human trafficking and drug offences. It’s really important we are dealing with this system better, and with Clare O’Neil at the helm, we are seeing a more methodical approach to immigration, including bringing those numbers down.

SEAL: And you certainly raised some very important points there. What do we do, though, about the solution to housing and how do we house people?

MCBAIN: It’s really important, and that’s why there’s been such a focus from the Federal Government on this role with states and territories. We’ve obviously given $3 billion in the Social Housing Accelerator fund. We’re incentivising states and territories to get on and make sure that we’ve got social and public homes that are fit for purpose and that they are incentivised to build more. We’ve done the Housing Australia Future Fund and we are seeing the investments roll into that scheme as well. We’re now looking at Help to Buy so we can get more Australians into home ownership, because we know that is one of the best ways to have financial security is to own your own home. There is plenty that we are doing, including tax incentives for developers for those rent to buy houses.

It’s really important that the Federal Government is pulling the levers that we have. We want the states and territories to get on board and start doing more. We want to make sure that the planning system is appropriate so that councils can get through this backlog of DAs that there are across the country, so that we can get more homes on the ground.

SEAL: And finally, Minister, you’re in Yass to make an announcement today.

MCBAIN: That’s right, I’m in Yass, part of my beautiful electorate. We’ve got the Yass Show coming up in a couple of weeks’ time. This show pavilion has been here since 1863. A beautiful old heritage stand. We’re committing $1 million so that the Yass Show Society can get this stand back to its former glory. It sits loud and proud right here at the show ground. We’re working with the Yass show committee to make sure that it can be used well into the future for the next 150 odd years so that people can continue to enjoy this magnificent place and grow this show and a whole range of tourism events that happen around this place.

SEAL: It certainly looks like a beautiful day there in Yass. Thank you so much, Minister Kristy McBain.

MCBAIN: Thanks, Jaynie.