Interview with Today, Channel 9

Allison Langdon
Victorian lockdowns, JobMaker Hiring Credit, Jobs

ALLISON LANGDON: Small businesses in Victoria are really doing it tough, aren't they? And that, as an increasingly bitter spat is raging out of the road out of lockdown. You’ve got Josh Frydenberg and Daniel Andrews at loggerheads after the Federal Treasurer accused the Premier of callous indifference. Federal Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash joins us now in Canberra. Michaelia, that was pretty tough to listen to just then, wasn’t it?

MINISTER CASH: Absolutely devastating, and this is exactly why Josh Frydenberg is standing up for Victorians, but in particular, small businesses in Victoria. You have businesses like Alishia’s who are saying: we are bleeding, we are going under, we are never going to open up again. And yet, next door in New South Wales, you have a state that has a similar circumstance to Victoria, but they have a strong contact tracing system and they are living in a COVID-safe and predominantly open economy. Daniel Andrews, you know, needs to step up and really start answering some questions here as to why Victoria remains in a state, a crippling state of lockdown. And day after day we are now hearing, you know, stories like that of Alisha – they are absolutely heartbreaking.

ALLISON LANGDON: But it doesn't help when you’ve got the Treasurer slinging mud from the sidelines, does it?

MINISTER CASH: The Treasurer was not slinging mud. And you look at who has come out in the business community, and who has backed the Treasurer every step of the way.

ALLISON LANGDON: But isn't there a way to do it in this environment, Michaelia, and perhaps that he was too aggressive yesterday in how he approached it?

MINISTER CASH: Absolutely not. When you have, on average, 1000 jobs per day being lost – you know, you are talking about real people, real people's lives. They look across the border, they see a COVID-safe and predominantly open economy, they see a Premier in Gladys Berejiklian who has faith in their contact tracing system. And then you have Daniel Andrews, whose only response is a lockdown in Victoria. Josh Frydenberg was right, he is standing up for the people of Victoria but, in particular, those who are losing their jobs on a daily basis. And again, just look, Ally, at what Alishia just said – absolutely devastating, and all because of Daniel Andrews.

ALLISON LANGDON: Well look, businesses hiring young Aussies can now claim up to $200 a week, it passed Parliament last night. When will that cash be available?

MINISTER CASH: Well, the scheme will come into place in December of this year you can start registering, but it is backdated to that previous quarter in October. And so, we would say to any business out there, thinking of taking on an additional young person – with the passing of, obviously, through the House of Representatives, we still do need to get it into the Senate. And I really do hope that Labor stand up and they back this good policy to get our young people into work as quickly as possible, a $4 billion hiring credit, estimated to support around 450,000 young people. I think the Prime Minister made it clear; our budget was a budget that was all about jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. And the youth hiring credit is part of that policy.

ALLISON LANGDON: What about the over 35s? There's nearly a million of them unemployed.

MINISTER CASH: And again, when you look at why we’ve brought in place the JobMaker youth hiring credit, it is because our youth are more vulnerable, they have been more disproportionately affected. The last thing we want to see is our young people facing a lifetime of welfare. But again, as the Prime Minister said, this was a budget for all Australians – merely because you focus on one group does not mean you do that at the expense of another. All of the evidence shows we need to make that effort to ensure that our youth are got as quickly as possible off welfare and into work, and that is why we've put in place the JobMaker youth hiring credit.

ALLISON LANGDON: Okay Minister, thanks for joining us this morning. Much appreciated.

MINISTER CASH: Great to be with you.