Transcript - TV Interview - Sky News Regional with Jaynie Seal

JAYNIE SEAL: Transport Minister Catherine King defends her decision to deny Qatar Airways additional flights to Australia. Joining me live is Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories. Thank you very much, Minister. You were there at the press conference. What is the latest in particular for the regional areas of Australia?

KRISTY MCBAIN: As Minister King outlined, one of the considerations in this decision was that there is available slots for Qatar Airways in a number of our secondary airports, which brings regional tourism directly to us, but also allows so many of our regional community's access to international flights. Airports like Canberra, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Darwin, all airports where Qatar could fly into now and provide additional services. We want to see them do that because we want international tourism coming directly into our regions and we want our regional people to have access to those international flights as well.

SEAL: And there are warnings Sydney's housing crisis could cause people to leave the city in droves, costing the economy $10 billion each year. I know that you were part of the Bush summit only a couple of weeks ago, which showed how many people, not only in Sydney but across major capital cities, are looking at seriously moving to regional and rural Australia.

MCBAIN: It’s time for communities and for businesses to start thinking about what futures look like when we have a country that's more regionalised. Where we see people moving to the countries, where we see things taking place in our countries. Where we see businesses expanding or setting up in some of our regional centres. That's not a minus in my book, that's a plus. Our regional communities have so much to offer. We have hard workers; we have great skills, and we want to put those to use and attract people to our regional areas. Of course, we need to focus on housing right across the country and of course we need to focus on infrastructure and services right across the country. We shouldn't discourage people from taking up the lifestyle that so many of us love, and that is in regional centres, where you do have a work-life balance, where you're not spending hours in the car commuting to and from work. I'd encourage some of our businesses to really start thinking about what a future in regions looks like.

SEAL: Work life balance sounds very enticing, Minister. What about the clean energy future? The Minns Government is delivering a further $1.8 billion to power NSW to a clean energy future. Tell us about this.

MCBAIN: It's really important that all levels of government are focused on this energy debate. We've seen ten years of denial and delay, and we've seen four gigawatts of energy leave our market under the previous Morrison Government and only one gigawatt come in. It's incumbent upon all of us to now work together to make sure that there is going to be more energy into our market to deal with the needs of our communities. It's a step in the right direction and one that I'll continue to encourage. It's one of the reasons we brought back Parliament in December last year to directly talk about how we can assist households and businesses deal with the rise in energy costs, because there had been nothing done over the last decade. The Minns Government is absolutely taking a lead here, as they should, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on what that looks like.

SEAL: Minister, unfortunately, we've only got about 30 seconds to go, but varroa mites cases in NSW have reached 250 as the Government is expanding the red zone. What's Labor doing about this?

MCBAIN: It's one of the reasons that we've put a billion dollars into our biosecurity system. We've been working hard on dealing with things like lumpy skin disease, foot and mouth disease. It shows us that we're not immune to these threats and we need to continue to work together on our biosecurity system. Minister Murray Watt has had a lot to say on this over the last couple of days, but our $1 billion investment in our biosecurity system is a step in the right direction to make sure that we're there for our farmers and our communities when diseases like this come in.

SEAL: We know you have a busy day ahead and we appreciate your time as always. Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territory. See you again next week. Thank you.

MCBAIN: Thanks, Jaynie.