SKY NEWS THE KENNY REPORT
WEDNESDAY, 3 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Recession, airline support, Virgin Australia.
CHRIS KENNY, HOST: I’m joined now from the wonderful city of Ballarat by Labor’s Shadow Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Catherine King. Thanks for joining us, Catherine. Is this the recession that no government could have avoided?
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, you have to say that after 30 years of unprecedented growth the Morrison Government has presided over us entering into recession. There were some issues that Labor had been pointing out for some time and underlying weaknesses in the economy and a lack of plan, and this was well before we entered into the bushfires and then coronavirus. I think what it does show is that it is even more incumbent on the Government to get its act together when it comes to things like infrastructure stimulus, when it comes to looking at what’s it’s going to do with the JobKeeper and the JobSeeker programs and what its plan is to get the economy out of here. We obviously had underlying weaknesses before, the Reserve Bank Governor was calling on the Government that it had come to the end of its capacity to influence how it could improve the economy and that the Government had to step in. It took a long time for the Government to say that it needed to do that, we then had bushfires and we then had Coronavirus. This has happened on the Government’s watch and they’re going to have to wear that. They were the ones who told us we were going to be back in back, that we were already back in black and back in surplus, and it shows pretty clearly the foolishness of those words and trying to make those sort of predictions.
KENNY: Well, I had Chris Richardson, the economist on earlier in the program. He said it is possible that Australia could come back out of recession in the September quarter, bounce back out pretty quickly. If that’s economically possible, is that the test that Labor will set for the Government. Is that the correct test, that they must get back into positive growth in the September quarter?
KING: Well, that’s the test the Government has set for itself. You had the Prime Minister saying we were going to snap back out of this. I think it is heroic and optimistic to assume that that’s going to be the case. It is clear that there is going to be a long tail to this. There will be parts of the economy that will have done ok, and that will continue to do ok. But there are other parts of the economy, the aviation industry for example or the tourism sector, that are going to take some time to come out of this and the Government needs to articulate very clearly what its plan is to get us out of the trouble that we’re in at the moment.
KENNY: While you’re on aviation and tourism the Palaszczuk Labor state government in Queensland has announced plans today to subsidize flights to the Whitsundays from Brisbane to understandably promote intrastate tourism. They’re subsidizing flights by the Alliance airline. Virgin are pretty upset about this as an airline in deep strife, in receivership, in administration and based in Brisbane. Why wouldn’t Virgin be offered that sort of a subsidy?
KING: Well, I don’t know the details of what the Palaszczuk Government has offered, but what I would say is that there is route subsidization across aviation, and it’s important that each sector gets an opportunity to have a share of that and that they are able to continue the routes that we have. What we’ve seen unfortunately at the federal level is Virgin, our second major airline, go into voluntary administration. They we’re calling for government assistance prior to that experience, and what the Morrison Government decided to do is rather than say that we’ll take a sector-wide approach to this it has provided substantial funds to one aviation player by an untied grant of $54 million, yet not provided that same sort of assistance to Qantas and Virgin, both of whom were in some trouble, but particularly Virgin.
KENNY: Thanks for joining us, Catherine. I want to talk to you again pretty soon if we can about infrastructure.
KING: Very pleased to join you, Chris.
CATHERINE KING – TRANSCRIPT – TELEVISION INTERVIEW – SKY NEWS THE KENNY REPORT – WEDNESDAY, 3 JUNE 2020