Interview with Hot Breakfast, Triple M

Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy
Wage subsidies, creation of 100,000 apprenticeship and traineeships, interstate travel/border restrictions

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Michaelia Cash is one of our favourite politicians in the world; we love her work, she comes on, she’s full of energy.

LUKE DARCY: Is she ever.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: We want to talk to her about her jobs portfolio. Have a listen back to what happened in recent times, and I tell you what, tell her about giving some curry.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Is he going to have a curry for the country?

MINISTER CASH: Go and have a curry for the country [laughs] hey, I’m going to tell the Prime Minister that one. A curry for the country, I love it. I love Indian food, it’s my favourite food. I promise you I will do that.

[End of Excerpt]

LUKE DARCY: It’s brilliant.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Peter Costello said we had to have one for the country, and one for each parent. And now Michaelia Cash is telling us we need to have a curry for the country. Good morning Michaelia.

MINISTER CASH: Good morning. And I have to say, in the context of that statement, A) I stand by it, I do love Indian food. But that was obviously all about, if you recall, we needed get back out and support those small businesses that have been hard hit by COVID, in particular, you know, those restaurants. And I know, it was widely welcomed by the Indian community at the time.

LUKE DARCY: [Laughs] Well done Michaelia, powering ahead as the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Businesses and the announcement around creating jobs, particularly 100,000 new apprenticeship positions. Tell us what you’re up to and what do we need to get behind.

MINISTER CASH: Look, absolutely. And thanks, so much for talking about this, because it’s 100,000 new apprenticeship and traineeship places that we are creating, we are providing a 50 per cent wage subsidy to employers who take on a new apprentice or trainee from the 5th of October through to the 30th of September next year. This is just so important because, as you know, we need to get that skills pipeline locked down. So, to any employer listening in to your show, if you were thinking about taking on an apprentice or trainee, please call my department. You’ll qualify for the 50 per cent wage subsidy, and that’s 100,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships across Australia.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Now, I love this, Michaelia. Now, tell us again a little bit more detail. So, let's say I want to put on an apprentice or a trainee, you have to apply to your department first. And how much money do you get for it, for each person?

MINISTER CASH: Okay, so the good news about the subsidy is, it is literally employers of any size, any industry, in any geographic location in Australia. This is about ensuring that we get these commencements started. You’ll get up to $7000 per quarter, so that's around 28,000 if you qualify for the 12 months. The majority of apprentices and trainees would have their wages covered by that. And in fact, in relation to the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy that we currently have in place to support current apprentices and trainees, the average claim per quarter is around $5000 to $5500, so the $7000 is at the top end.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Right. Okay. And how many can you have? Is there going to be a limit on what you can do?

MINISTER CASH: No, and this is just it, this is why employers of any size, any industry, in any geographic location, as long as you are taking on a new apprentice or trainee. If you have the capacity to take on five, 10, 15, 20 - and quite frankly, to all of the bigger companies listening in today, if you have the capacity to take on 100, 200, 300, please do. Please do, because you are giving an opportunity to an Australian.

LUKE DARCY: Well, that is a great news story.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: It’s great.

LUKE DARCY: And we need to get all of our industry behind that, get people back into jobs, particularly trainees. Now, just on another topic, Michaelia, the idea, you've been outspoken recently of border closures, particularly Western Australia, keeping their hard border closed. What are your thoughts on that? Seems that we need to get the country opened up as quickly as possible.

MINISTER CASH: Look, the Commonwealth Government, as you know, we've been pretty clear; unless there is a health reason to keep borders closed, we need to commence this economic recovery. You only get on that path to economic recovery if you lift restrictions and open borders. Western Australia has done well to date - I will admit that. However, I am now getting more and more people calling my office and saying: why can't I go to South Australia? Why can't I go to the NT? Why can't I go to the ACT? You know, these are states and territories that have lower levels of community transmission, in fact, none in some cases, than Western Australia. People now want to see their families. Christmas is coming up. And if there's no health reason as for why we can't travel, you do have to question why the McGowan Government won't allow people to travel, in particular, for those states and territory.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Is this because you want to go home, is it Michaelia? [Laughs]

MINISTER CASH: Look, I have to say, I have been very lucky, I have been able to travel between Western Australia and the ACT. You know that I'm a big fan of Western Australia except, I have to throw this in for both of you, when it comes to Saturday night and what happened at the football. Let's not talk about it, Eddie, let’s not talk about it. [Laughter] Okay?

EDDIE MCGUIRE: [Talks over] Well, now that you’ve brought it up.

MINISTER CASH: I was saying to someone this morning. I could hear my husband's screams. I was actually in Canberra. I could hear him screaming from Perth. It was quite disturbing. [Laughter] But what a close game, what a close game.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Yeah, well, don’t worry, you can console yourself by looking at the 2018 premiership, of course. I haven't got over that.

MINISTER CASH: I promised myself I would not talk AFL.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: You and Julie Bishop standing there at the MCG, jumping up and down. It was unbelievable. The hairstyles didn't even move in the breeze, it was magnificent. [Laughter]

I really like this employment scheme. Darce, back in 1982/83. I came out of school and it was double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, so stagflation and interest rates were on their way to 18 per cent. The first thing everybody did, was they cut traineeships - it was the first time ever that there was no cadetships offered to any kids coming out of school in reporting. You ended up having to be a graduate, although I was lucky enough to snag one around the back door because I’d started earlier. But it was really, really depressing for young people coming out those days.

So, to do something like this, it really resonates with me, and I think it's just sensational. So, Michaelia, we've got a lot of people who would love to put on apprentices, we’ve got a lot of people that want to put on trainees. It is as simple as this, you will subsidise 50 per cent of their trainee package, is that it?

MINISTER CASH: That is exactly right. So, it’s a 50 per cent wage subsidy, up to $7000 per quarter. The average claim for the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy currently in place is $5000 to $5500. So, it really does give an employer that real incentive to undertake a new apprentice or trainee. And, Eddie, you are right, the first people to go in a recession; apprentices and trainees. And yet, they are the people we need to keep on the job. To any school people - you know, year 10, 11 and 12s out there - if you're thinking of doing an apprentice or trainee, talk to your teacher, talk to your careers adviser because this is the time. We want as many young people signed up over the next few weeks, this is the opportunity to literally have a career for life.

EDDIE MCGUIRE: Yeah, it's a great thing to do, no doubt about that. Michaelia, can you- will it be backdated for, maybe apprentices who have been put on in the last few months, or last six months or so?

MINISTER CASH: No, it’s not. So, we've already got the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy in place, and that's to support those currently undertaking an apprenticeship. This is literally about supercharging commencements and bringing an additional person on as of the 5th of October.


LUKE DARCY: Thank you Michaelia, really appreciate your dropping by as always.

MINISTER CASH: Great to be with you guys, speak soon.

LUKE DARCY: The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, with 100,000 new apprenticeship positions to lead the economic recovery. Always great to hear the energy of Michaelia Cash.