Transcript - Interview on Sunrise, Channel 7

7:31AM

DAVID KOCH

I'm joined by Michael McCormack. Deputy Prime Minister, good morning. Is the Federal Government nervous about the current situation in Melbourne?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Obviously, we would like to see it nipped in the bud as soon as possible, of course, I know that Victorian State Health Authorities will be scrambling very quickly this morning. New South Wales has been the exemplar as far as contact tracing and tracking goes but of course, this situation is very worrying.

DAVID KOCH

Hopefully, it is a reminder for people about how important it is to get vaccinated.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Indeed and I notice you had a bit of a wrap there to get the young people vaccinated and maybe we need to look at that. I have already done a little wrap this morning, I probably won’t subject your viewers to it.

DAVID KOCH

No, no, go on.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

You know, make sure you get the jab. Maybe you can do one too, Kochie? We could all do this together because we are all in this together, indeed, we are. Whether it is young people or whether it is those over 50s, we need to get out, we need to get those jabs. It is so, so important, not just for yourself and not just for your family, it is for that stranger in your community or indeed, anywhere else. Make sure you get that jab and by doing that, you will make sure that you get Australia even more COVID-safe and more COVID-free.

DAVID KOCH

Over the last couple of weeks we have been talking about some of the incentives in America, the State of Ohio, anyone who gets vaccinated goes into a lottery for $1 million. We have companies offering discounts to people who are vaccinated. Paul Kelly, the Chief Medical Officer, was saying yesterday that maybe we should think about things like that here? What do you reckon?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, let’s look at it but at the moment, we're getting a considerable number of people, 100,000 or so getting their jabs each and every day, we want to make sure that we increase that number. We have had 3.5 million Australian so far get the jab, it is so important. Their lives depend on it, that's how critical it is. People's lives depend on getting that vaccination.

DAVID KOCH

Onto something different now, the Federal Government is pushing ahead with its decentralisation agenda, pledging $50 million under the Building Better Regions Fund to boost jobs and services in rural areas. Where exactly will that money be going?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

It will be, obviously, a competitive grants process and it will be going to regional communities, country areas. Councils will be able to apply – regional communities – these are community-driven programs. A quarter of a billion dollars is now in this round of the Building Better Regions Fund and this is such an important fund, because we want to make sure that we have the right services and the right provisions for those many, tens of thousands of Australians, who are making the choice to move to a regional community – big enough in which to get a good cup of coffee, small enough to still care. There are 66,000 jobs in regional Australia right now and we want to encourage people, we want to encourage businesses to take that step, to take that move, they’ll never regret it.

DAVID KOCH

They are facing a bit of pressure with this mouse plague though aren’t they, it’s really taking a toll on regional areas and the farmers. The New South Wales Government has pledged $50 million towards tackling it, but farmers want more. What about support from the Feds?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

We will obviously, answer any query or question or request that the New South Wales Government puts to us, but when you have people from PETA saying they should be rehomed, I actually agree with them. I think they should be rehomed right into their backyards, right in their kitchens, right in their pantries, to make sure that they know full-well just how terrible these little pests are. These rodents – the only good mouse is a dead mouse and for organisations and for people to even contemplate that they should be rehomed or anyway saved is just ridiculous. It is absurd in the extreme and it goes to show how little people think of country people, the farmers who indeed, grow our food and fibre.

DAVID KOCH

Michael McCormack, appreciate your time and also your moves! Thank you!

NATALIE BARR

I just want to keep the camera on him! I thought that was really good.

DAVID KOCH

That might end up a meme!

ENDS 7:35AM

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