Radio Interview with Clairsy, Matt and Kymba MIX 94.5 Perth

Transcript
10 Aug 2018
Perth
Prime Minister
E&OE

PRESENTER:

Prime Minister good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning, good to be here.

PRESENTER:

What's the first thing on the agenda, sharks? You've bought into our shark debate. Do you sometimes feel in your job, 'Oh god, you deal with it.'

PRIME MINISTER:

I get asked about everything but I do think we should put people before sharks and I think the offer that Josh Frydenberg made to arrange for a trial of smart drum lines here was - why not try it? - it worked well in New South Wales and elsewhere.

PRESENTER:

Is it really what you call a stand off? Is there a bit of ‘Sharknado’ going on between the West and Canberra?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't think it's, no I think look it's clearly a state government issue. Josh was offering to help. I was asked about it, so I'd give it a go, as I say people before sharks.

PRESENTER:

Drum lines seems to be the way that people -

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, they work well in New South Wales and it's a humane way of, you know, discouraging sharks from beaches where there are lots of people.

PRESENTER:

Yeah it sounds good.

PRIME MINISTER:

Who don't like being bitten by sharks.

PRESENTER:

No we don't, we don't.

PRESENTER:

Well, speaking of putting people first, now the drought is obviously causing real distress around the country and people are concerned that the drought funding from the Government is not on par with the type of funding that we're giving for foreign aid. Can you clarify what that gap is and how the farmers are being prioritised?

PRIME MINISTER:

They're completely unrelated, I mean we have an ongoing foreign aid program which is a very important part of our diplomacy, among everything else. It's about four billion dollars a year, it's about 0.8 percent of the budget.

In fact, we have not increased it. We've been criticised for not increasing it to higher levels, to be frank. In terms of support for farmers, I'm keenly aware of the issues, I've actually just been speaking to a farmer from New South Wales on the way here. I'm staying very close to it, the whole Government is. Luce and I are in the sheep and cattle business in the Upper Hunter which is one of the worst hit parts of New South Wales, we've been through a lot of droughts.

So I do understand the issues, we've provided additional support for the Farm Household Allowance. For a family an extra $12,000 a year there. The NSW Government has stepped up to provide freight subsidies to, in line with what they used to do. They had stopped providing that for a period.

We're also providing a lot of support for mental health services. We've also got some very important tax changes that we made so farmers in good years are able to put money into a farm management deposit and not pay tax on it and then in a tough year pull it out and bring it to account when of course you know they're likely to have losses and so it'll be tax effective for them. There's about 6.6 billion farm management deposits now.

I was just talking to a farmer this morning from Ardlethan actually in New South Wales about the rules, the tax arrangements we have in place to enable people who make a profit by selling stock in a drought, when you have to sell you might sell almost all of your stock, that you can spread that over from a tax point of view over five years or you can roll that into the cost of buying stock when you restock after the rain comes.

PRESENTER:

It's just not quite the gift.

PRIME MINISTER:

Look since I've been in WA in spare moments I've been calling back people who have got in touch with me on social media or come back through our office, just to get the best understanding of how the drought is impacting farmers in different parts of the country. You know look you've got to be resilient in the bush. You know this in Western Australia, it is as the poet said, we're the land of droughts and flooding rains and you've got to be resilient.

But I think when you get a very, very, very harsh drought and the one we have in New South Wales and Queensland is the worst since the 60's then you need to have some additional support and that's what we're providing.

PRESENTER:

Especially when your livestock is starting to perish and that six or twelve grand might make a difference.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, yeah that's right. Well the only thing I'd say and this is a - I'm just being objective here - livestock prices remain high by historic levels and interest rates are historically low.

This is a, that was not the case in the 82/83 drought for example, which was the first big drought I went through with Luce and we destocked pretty much entirely and then it rained, and of course it cost a lot to restock.

PRESENTER:

Yeah.

PRIME MINISTER:

In the 06/07 drought we had more experience and we didn't destock but we had stock on the road with drovers we did just about everything. Hand feeding, agistment, putting stock in the long - you know what the long paddock is? You know in NSW they have the travelling stock routes?

PRESENTER:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

Which have been around you know since the 1800s and there are people who will, drovers who will, take a mob of cattle or sheep for that matter and they'll just move quietly along those travelling stock routes and that's one way of managing a drought. But it's, you know, there's no grass anywhere in New South Wales.

PRESENTER:

It is tough, absolutely.

PRESENTER:

Now just moving on to WA.

PRIME MINISTER:

But hey, can I just say a big thank you.

PRESENTER:

Sure.

PRIME MINISTER:

I should say this, a big, big thank you to the generosity of Western Australians. I was with some, a couple of butchers, independent butchers with Steve Irons yesterday who are going to have barbecues to raise money for the, support farmers in the East.

I was talking to a little girl called Maisie and her grandmother. Maisie's given her pocket money for two years.

PRESENTER:

Yes.

PRIME MINISTER:

To support the farmers, $193 and that is really generous. And of course there's a lot of support from farmers too. You know sending feed over east and so forth. So there's a lot of love and support across the country. So thank you.

PRESENTER:

Our pleasure. We have a little competition we run at 7am and the winner today won $50 which she is going to donate to the farmers as well.

PRIME MINISTER:

That's good.

PRESENTER:

We're good people here in the West, you need to look after us.

PRIME MINISTER:

You are. You are. Well that's a fair deal for WA on GST!

PRESENTER:

Did we say GST? Throw in GST.

PRESENTER:

Yeah well, you said this week Malcolm that we can trust you.

PRIME MINISTER:

You can.

PRESENTER:

Oh great.

PRIME MINISTER:

You absolutely can.

PRESENTER:

Awesome.

PRESENTER:

Yeah. And on your last visit here it would be to be remiss of me to not mention. Did you listen to the John Farnham CD that we bought you, did you memorise any lyrics for us?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I haven't memorised any lyrics and I didn't listen to the CD because you know I don't play CDs. I listen to music, can I do this, is this an ad? I listen to music on Spotify basically.

PRESENTER:

Get out! How dare you! Come into a radio station and say you listen to Spotify.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I do! I do! And other things, you know, but that's, I guess, how you get your music nowadays on streaming services in 2018.

PRESENTER:

Well that can run in tandem with radio, with personality involved. It's all good.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that's right.

PRESENTER:

Malcolm good to see you in the West once again. We'll see you again soon.

PRIME MINISTER:

Great to be with you. Thanks a lot.