Release type: Transcript

Date:

Transcript: Interview — Sky News Live, Paul Murray Live

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

PAUL MURRAY:

Very big announcement today about more help with people who are paying the extreme costs of childcare. Stuart Robert, Federal Government Minister, joins us in the man cave. Minister in the man cave, we like that. So, what happened today? How does it change somebody’s life?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, great to join you in the man cave. As you know, if you’ve got a child in childcare, there’s an 85 per cent childcare subsidy you receive for children. And, of course, it’s means tested. What we've, not just announced today - we announced it in the Budget - but it starts today. And parents don't need to do anything, it'll happen automatically. For the second and the third child the childcare subsidy will be up to 95 per cent of the full cost, to be paying no more than $6 a day for the second and third child. It's all about economic productivity. It about adding $1.5 billion of GDP per annum to our economy. And, it's about making it easier for parents.

PAUL MURRAY:

My brother in law with twins on the Central Coast, very excited to hear that particular announcement.

MINISTER ROBERT:

I bet he would be. Look, it's $2 billion. It's a lot of taxpayer’s money. But you're talking 1.5 billion in GDP per annum. So, there’s $6 billion. There are three times economic impact, and it's designed to really give parents choice and opportunity.

Remember, only 47 per cent of kids go to childcare; 53 per cent of parents make another choice, or, they might have a child in four-year-old pre-school. So it needs to be fair and it needs to be equitable, and we think this balance is good.

PAUL MURRAY:

Look, it's a great thing. But as you said, it flows automatically. You don't have to go and fill out paperwork and double check with someone…

MINISTER ROBERT:       

[Interrupts] Nothing. No paperwork, no checking anything, no doing anything. It'll automatic flow for you. But I always say to parents, parents need to anticipate what their gross family income would be and tell Services Australia. Always good to keep a check of that.

PAUL MURRAY:

Now, Nicholas Reece made a point a little bit earlier, and he's always a bit of a forerunner about what some Labor talking points might end up being, which was, and you saw Turnbull Times – ABC’s starting this up today – that, somehow, the ADF’s not doing enough in the far north of New South Wales in particular. His line was that there's 100 helicopters that the ADF have, but only two are currently being used in northern New South Wales. I can feel a dirty tactic is coming. I can feel that people are wanting to resuscitate the politics of a couple of years ago. What do you say to those who say there's not enough happening, particularly even air support, in northern New South Wales?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Look, clearly, he's never pulled a uniform on because he's got no idea about a force disposition. There is, right now, 5000 of our troops on Operation Flood Assist, over 2000 deployed and committed; others stepping up; and of course, others ready to go. Five thousand - that is substantial, almost 10 per cent of our standing combat force ready to go. In terms of air assets, we'll put available whatever air assets are needed to get the job done.

Now, yes, you may have 100. But let's take out 20 plus, which are Tiger Attack helicopters - you can fit pilot and a gunnery operator in there. Let's take out 20, sort of, Kiowa training helicopters - that's not going to help you, no night vision, no advanced capacity to deal in operational areas. Let's take out six or seven big twin rotary blade CH47’s - that is going to blow houses away, let alone fix them up. And you’re then on MRH90s’, you’re on Blackhawks; and of course, you take out those in maintenance, those supporting frontline counter terrorism, those supporting operations here and overseas. What you'll find is the ADF are making the resources that are needed. And if we need to expand, trust me, the Minister of Defence will expand our assets at the drop of a hat if he's requested.

PAUL MURRAY:

Yeah. Halfway through the sentence when he's asked, if he's asked on those things, right, is how fast he'd be. Last one on this, though. To those that will attempt to make this political, to those that will attempt to try to, again, revive the politics of a couple of years ago, what do you say to them? Either your political opponents, or the people in the media who will try to take us back where we were?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, first of all, go and meet our fighting men and women who are actually there doing the hard yards - thank them first before you start to criticise our men and women in uniform.

I was in Lismore on Friday. As the first Minister on the ground, spent a number of hours with the Mayor Steve, I saw you had him on. And we watched the ADF roll into town. I stopped by and chatted with the engineers.

If you want to criticise the military and what they're doing, go and see what they're doing; ask what they're doing; speak to their chain of command; speak to the diggers on the ground; then if you still wish to criticise one of the finest fighting forces in the world, so be it. But be it on your own head.

PAUL MURRAY:

Bloody oath, Minister. Thank you so much. Longer chat next time. Thank you.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Cheers.