Transcript - Interview on 4BC Breakfast with Neil Breen

8:10AM

NEIL BREEN

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, good morning to you.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Good morning, Neil and thoughts to Moonface, I say that in the most kind and endearing way. Bert Newton has been an icon of Australian entertainment and television for so many years and of course, news of that operation over the weekend, that's not good but if anybody can pull through, it's Bert Newton. So, let's hope he makes a full recovery.

NEIL BREEN

Hear, hear. It's sad to hear, isn't it? But what a legend he is in our entertainment industry.

Now, I've got to address the bear in the room. Do you rip off Queenslanders like Cameron Dick, our Treasurer, says you do?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, Mark Bailey certainly sent me a text last night and was very pleased for the heads up for the infrastructure roll out that we're doing. I have a reasonable relationship with Mark and he said that he much appreciated it and it's good news on the Inland Freight Route and the Bruce, meaning the Bruce Highway. So he's happy. It's a shame that Cameron Dick can't be. This Budget is for all states and both territories. We're investing in the infrastructure that indeed those jurisdictions have prioritised and we're delivering.

NEIL BREEN

And a lot of it's for regional Queensland. Look, for people who have just caught up – because I've been reading out a lot of the stuff on the show today and the Federal Government has got $1.6 billion to spend on a roads and rail bonanza from the Gold Coast to Cairns. We're talking about $400 million for the Inland Freight Route, Mungindi to Charters Towers, $400 million for Bruce Highway upgrades, $240 million for Cairns Western Arterial Road Duplication, $178 million for Gold Coast Rail Line Capacity Improvement, Kuraby to Beenleigh, $160 million Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade, $126 million Gold Coast Light Rail. A lot of these things were on the wish list of the Treasurer of Queensland. Michael McCormack, did Queensland ever give you a list?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, of course and I speak to Mark Bailey regularly, I mean, he's got me on speed dial and vice versa. You know, there's also $35 million for the Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Pialba-Burrum Heads Road Intersection Upgrade. So, these investments are making sure – and that's not to mention the Caboolture-Bribie Island Road, $10 million for that. I mean, this is securing Australia's recovery. This is securing Queensland's recovery. This is a good infrastructure Budget. Mark Bailey knows it and honestly, Cameron Dick should get on board.

NEIL BREEN

That $35.3 million for Maryborough Hervey Bay Road and Pialba Burrum Heads Road Intersection – I'm just waiting to hear from my Wide Bay operative, my brother Pat who lives and drives those roads every day, to tell us about those roads. So he'll ring in on 131 873. I suppose with regards to this Budget overall, Michael McCormack, we'll still be in a deficit, but we're in a lot better shape now than we were late last year when you were forced to hand down that Budget late.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Indeed and, you know, there are jobs that this Budget is supporting, 2,800 direct jobs just in infrastructure in Queensland, 30,000 jobs overall. Our unemployment rate is the envy of the world, I have to say, Neil. And we've kept those case rates and the death toll very, very low by world standards, so we've done well. Yes, there is obviously a deficit in this year's Budget – of course there is – but we've provided the money, the support, the assistance to back our economy. And Australians will back themselves as well. They'll take the risks. They'll hire people. They'll get involved in the procurement processes of this infrastructure roll out. They'll indeed work on the rail lines that we're building, on the roads that we're laying bitumen on and they'll make sure that they take up those jobs, they provide those export opportunities for agriculture, for resources and you know what? Queensland will help lead the way in that regard.

I had Glenn Butcher on the phone last week and the week before we both visited Rookwood Weir and if you see the 250 worker accommodation camp there, the 50 excavators on site, you'd get pretty excited, as I was. And so we're building the water infrastructure, we're building the rail, we're building the roads and Queensland is going to help this largely in that degree.

NEIL BREEN

The Government will be happy to hear that Christine Holgate's got a new job at Toll Holdings.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

She'll do well there, no question and, you know, I wish her all the best.

NEIL BREEN

Good stuff. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, thanks for your help on a very busy week. Thanks for all the money for Queensland, too.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

We’ll continue securing Australia’s recovery.

ENDS 8:15AM

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