Transcript - Sunrise, Channel 7

SAM ARMYTAGE

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack joins us now from Canberra. Michael, good morning to you.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Good morning, Sam. Good morning, Kochie.

SAM ARMYTAGE

These numbers are truly eye watering. How long should we expect to be paying off this pandemic?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, it’s the recession we didn’t need to have, but given the fact that we’re in it, Sam, we’re going to build our way out of it. And we’re going to do that with $7.56 billion of additional expenditure on roads, on rail, on infrastructure. We are going to make sure that it’s jobs, jobs, jobs. Tomorrow’s budget – 7:30 – is going to be all about infrastructure, all about jobs.

DAVID KOCH

It’s been called the JobMaker budget and of course, the more jobs, the more people are paying taxes to get the budget back hopefully in balance. How will jobs be created and in what industries?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, indeed, agriculture and resources have held up throughout the pandemic, but rest assured, we’re investing heavily in infrastructure. Whether it’s Broome-Cape Leveque Road in WA – I know you’ve got a lot of WA listeners – whether it’s the Singleton Bypass in New South Wales, whether it’s the Bruce Highway, we want workers on those sites. We want to make sure that it’s not just the hi-vis workers, it’s also the little café on the side of the road that’s selling more egg and bacon rolls, it’s the accommodation places that are making sure that their motel rates and occupancies are better than what they were during the pandemic. We want to make sure that we have a job-led recovery. That’s what tomorrow’s budget speech is all about.

SAM ARMYTAGE

Okay, I’m interested that you are targeting women and young people. How will you do that?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, they’ve been very hard hit and as Josh Frydenberg, the Treasurer said, we want women in industries that they perhaps haven’t even been in before or indeed, that they don’t have a big presence in. Of course, in infrastructure there are a lot of roles. There are many, many roles in agriculture, in all sectors of the economy. That’s why we’re backing our apprentices program, that’s why we’re making sure that businesses have the incentives to put on that young person, that trainee. If you’re an apprentice in Adelaide, or whatever you might be – in Adaminaby indeed – we want you to have a job, we want you to have a start and we want those small businesses to have incentives to put you on, to hire you, to give you that first opportunity.

DAVID KOCH

Economists are expecting a deficit around $210 billion, but it’s based on the assumption that we have a vaccine next year. Is that dangerous or do you know something that we don’t? Are you confident about that vaccine?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, I know that our universities are working with others around the world. Our best medical experts are doing everything that they can. This is a global effort to get a vaccine. We’re hoping very much that that vaccine becomes available. It’s in the late developmental stage at the moment. We need that vaccine. But if it isn’t to the point where it can be freely and widely accessed and available then we’ll certainly make sure, as we’ve done right the way through, we’ll make sure that we back our economy, we’ll make sure that we do everything we can to get the health outcomes that Australians need and so far our results, our outcomes, have been very, very good. Of course, we mourn for those families who this Christmas won’t have a loved one because more than 800 people have sadly died. But if you look at our results and compare them to anywhere else in the world, we’ve done well so far and we need Australians to keep maintaining that social distancing, do what they need to do and not be complacent. This virus is deadly.

SAM ARMYTAGE

Yes, the Treasurer has announced $1.2 billion to pay half the wages of 100,000 new apprentices. So when will that actually land in the pockets of employers?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

We want to make sure that these measures start very, very soon. We want to make sure that companies know that they’ve got the ability, the Government has their back. We want to make sure that we want our companies to put on that younger person. Absolutely, budget tomorrow night, is going to have a number of measures. We’re going to be bringing forward tax cuts. We’re going to make sure that we’ve got jobs, infrastructure, and incentives for small businesses – they are the backbone of the economy. We want young apprentices to have that ability to take that first job, to get that first opportunity and to build on their careers.

Unemployment, yes, it’s very high at the moment. Of course, that was always going to be the case. But there have been 700,000 people reconnected with their work, reconnected with the hours that they had prior to the pandemic. And, as I’ve said all along, Sam and Kochie, there are 45,600 jobs in regional Australia right at the moment, as identified by the Regional Australia Institute. Many jobs in many sectors, not just for fruit pickers but in many areas of endeavour. We urge and encourage those young Australians to look for those opportunities.

SAM ARMYTAGE

Yes, we hope people move to those jobs. Can I say on a personal – I know you’re from Wagga – on a personal note, it is so busy out there in regional areas that you cannot find accommodation. People are moving around, they are travelling, they are staying and eating and you know, filling up with fuel in these –

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, why wouldn’t you want to go to Wagga Wagga, Sam? Why wouldn’t you want to go to a regional area? And they’re largely COVID-free.

SAM ARMYTAGE

People are really moving around the country and spending money. So I think that’s terrific for regional areas. That’s got to be a big boost.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Big enough to get a good cup of coffee, Sam, small enough to still care. And they do and they want your dollars. So that intrastate tourism, get out to a region and have a look. You’ll be amazed what you see.

SAM ARMYTAGE

Open up the borders, because Aussies will travel and spend their money.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Absolutely.

SAM ARMYTAGE

All right, thanks Michael McCormack.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

A pleasure.

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