Transcript - ABC News Breakfast with Lisa Millar

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LISA MILLAR 

A lot of people wanting to do a lot of travel around Australia, that's for sure. And on that note, we've got the Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, with us now from Wagga Wagga. Good morning, Minister. 

What is the plan as far as this extra assistance for airlines?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

So, we've extended the domestic aviation network support until January 31, and we've extended the regional services, those routes which are so important particularly for rural and remote communities, until March 28. So we'll be subsidising those routes. We've extended that provision which we've had in place for many, many months. So that means that those communities - many of which would not actually see a plane landing - are going to be able to do that. And those planes, of course, carry many important things - not least of which is the personal protection equipment, the respiratory, the face masks, indeed, frontline medical personnel. So for those for those areas, they are going to be very thankful. They're going to welcome this support. We've had many requests to extend it, and we've - as part of the budget - we've done just that.

LISA MILLAR

And there's plenty more requests coming in tourism and transport bosses saying that JobKeeper needs to be extended through until September 2021. JobKeeper today were seeing it being would back, but so many people saying this is not the time to be winding back.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, we've got to get Australians back to work. We've got to ensure that for those 45,600 jobs in regional Australia, that they get filled. Indeed, there are many, many people who are saying that. They're crying out for labour, they're crying out for workers to come to regional areas and we're just about to get a bumper harvest and so for those areas of endeavor, they need workers. Of course we've got a situation on the Sydney port at the moment where everything's being held up so the hard work that farmers have put in there - finally, they've got through the worst of the drought hopefully, they've got through the bushfires. They're now wanting to get that world's best food and fibre to export markets overseas and that's being held up at the ports...

LISA MILLAR

Is the government going to intervene in that maritime dispute?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well Christian Porter, the Attorney General, is looking at doing just that. These are difficult times and for our farmers - who can't get their stock and their goods and their produce overseas - this is proving really, really difficult. But so too are the border restrictions being put in place by those states. We know that planes in the air means jobs on the ground. We know that as we go through the warmer months that Australians are going to want to have that interstate holiday. And we know that they also want to get back together for Christmas, families need to be reunited. This has been a very, very difficult year. That's why the budget is going to provide those provisions as far as jobs and infrastructure is concerned. That's why today we're announcing - as part of the budget - this aviation support, particularly for those regional communities, which would not see a plane but for this support and this subsidy.

LISA MILLAR

When it comes to JobKeeper, though Deputy Prime Minister, so many economists, Deloitte modelling shows that you're going against what is best for the economy by making these cuts to JobKeeper. You're saying Deloitte's modelling is getting it wrong?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

We've done everything to make sure that we've supported the economy, supported workers still being attached to their businesses, we've done and you can ask many businesses. Yes, Deloitte economists can say what they like but you go down any street in any regional community, indeed, any capital city in Australia and talk to small business owners and they'll say but for JobKeeper, their businesses would not be reopening. But it's time for Australians to get back to work. That's why we have to make the transition. That's why we have to revisit the support mechanisms we've put in place. We've been very generous $314 billion. And of course next week the budget. It's going to be a jobs and infrastructure budget. We've put in place the right parameters for the economy, we've made sure that as many workers can stay engaged with their work. Yes, it's been difficult for those people who've lost jobs, many of whom have had to go on welfare for the first time in their careers and that's why we put the JobSeeker measures in place. But it is time for Australians to get back to work and that's what we're doing.

LISA MILLAR

Hey, are we all are going to be heading to New Zealand, how quick is that going to occur?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Those discussions are taking place and they're productive discussions between the prime minister and Jacinda Ardern and they will continue. Yes, if we can open up a bubble between New Zealand, then we will. That'll be that'll be great for tourism, it'll be great to get potentially New Zealand shearers to Australia. The wool clip is going to need to be done. You know there's so many ways and means that we need New Zealanders just like they need Australians. We've been great friends across the Tasman dating back to Gallipoli and even before that and of course, we need to make sure that if the health and medical experts say that it's possible, say that it's advisable, then we'll will do just that.

Ends 0744

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