Transcript - Today Show with Karl Stefanovic and Ali Langdon

KARL STEFANOVIC

Michael McCormack joins us now. Deputy PM thanks for your time this morning. Really appreciate it. The curfew in Victoria finished, in Melbourne finished at 5am this morning is the relief going fast enough.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

No, it's not and we need these border restrictions to be eased quicker because we need to get planes back in the air. Planes in the air, means jobs on the ground, Karl and Ali. We want to get those planes up flying again, not just for the jobs in the aviation sector but people want to travel. They, as we head into the warmer months, they want to be able to go on holidays in Australia. They want to be able to fly interstate, and they certainly want to have reunions with loved ones, which is always the case over Christmas. They won't be able to do it if the borders are still shut.

ALI LANGDON

But I mean, as we've seen with Melbourne if they come out of this too quickly we could end up back where we were before and Christmas could look very different to what we're hoping.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, New South Wales has been the gold star standard when it comes to tracking and tracing as far as the coronavirus. No new cases yesterday. What we want to see is the ability to obviously track and trace, what we want to be able to see is that coronavirus handled right across the nation. And, yes, we've done very well as a nation but continuing to have tight border closures is hurting, particularly regional areas. They are under very similar restrictions, in some cases, they have been to those in the city areas and they haven't had a coronavirus case for many months, if at all. Now I appreciate that many of those restrictions in regional Victoria have eased, but we're talking about one city here, you know, and it's affecting most of the state, it's affecting international travel, it's affecting interstate travel. And what we're doing is we're extending the domestic and regional aviation network support, we're putting more money - millions upon millions of dollars - into making sure that we get planes back in the air. But if we still have tight border restrictions, it makes it so much more likely (spoken over)...

KARL STEFANOVIC

If you can't get the borders open there's going to be a complete waste of time and where how much cash is going into it, how's it going to be divided up and how effective is it going to be?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, they’re subsidised routes and so if we don't put these mechanisms in place, Karl, we won't be able to get planes to Julia Creek and to Kunanurra and to Bathurst Island, into some very remote places across the far flung corners of our nation. And that's what this network support mechanism has done. It's made sure that for those towns and indeed cities that would otherwise have had very limited - or none at all - aviation, they're getting the supplies, they're getting the frontline medical personnel and so the support mechanisms for the domestic until January 31 next year, and for the regional network, until the end of March is going to make it possible for them to get airlines into the, into their communities and so for their communities. It is vital. And that's why we're doing it.

ALI LANGDON

How confident are you that we will see borders open by quite a Christmas?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well that's up to the premiers, of course, and they need to know that people need to get back to their loved ones, they need to know that the aviation sector needs those jobs and regional tourism, indeed tourism right across the nation. Yesterday we supported it with a quarter of a billion dollars both regional programs and tourism programs to get Australians to go and see our wonderful country. There's so many things to see in Australia. They can't do them if they've got tight borders, and this is hurting our economy. It's one of those things which if we don't do it is going to cause so much chaos and heartache and continue job losses, particularly throughout the aviation and tourism sectors.

KARL STEFANOVIC

We know hospitality, of course, we know in farm in the farming sector they're struggling the farm workers that tried every incentive in the book, to try and get people out there to work locally and they can't do it. Is there any chance of you opening up, say border bubbles with New Zealand with some of the Pacific Islanders no in order to get them out here to work is that is that a chance.
 
MICHAEL McCORMACK

Those are taking place right now. Of course, we were looking at also making sure that we get shearers in because the wool clip obviously needs to happen. We've got 45,600 jobs in regional Australia identified by the Regional Australia Institute just last week. So there are jobs out here, we need to get people into these areas. That's why we're continuing the support mechanism for our aviation sector. But Australians in those capital cities need to know there are jobs out in the regions, good jobs, well-paying jobs, jobs right now. Yeah. Have a look, see what the job might be best suiting you and come to a region.

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