Tuesday 11 August 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

Interview on Sounds of the Mountains

DAVID EISENHAUER: A very good morning to Scott Morrison. Mr Morrison, thank you for your time today. PRIME MINISTER: G’day, David, thanks for having me on today. I appreciate you doing that. Before we get going, can I thank you for everything you did, particularly back over the Black Summer. I was down, as you probably know, in Tumbarumba and Tumut and Batlow earlier this year and working on how we were going to get the economic recovery plans in place. But I know the job you did over that period of time. It s been reported back to me by so many. I know how many of your listeners would be so appreciative, but just want you to know that we re very appreciative of the great service you provided as well. EISENHAUER: Thank you. No, look, it was a very long, well, couple of months Prime Minister, really, when you look at it. And as we said today in The Daily Advertiser, Wagga’s paper, it was very much a team effort by all the media. We all worked together during that time to keep those messages going. And as the Deputy Prime Minister said, it was certainly a pretty hectic sort of time for everybody. And we still are, as you are very much aware, in recovery. PRIME MINISTER: Well, we are and that trip to Batlow and throughout that area was very important back in January, because it highlighted particularly, you look at the orchardists, that the road back is a very hard one. And you can’t just, you know, plant a few trees and they pop up and you re producing apples in a few months. That s just not how it works. And I was so impressed by the tenacity of those orchardists and, you know, they ve been doing it for quite a while and the courage it requires to stump up and go, look, I m going to rebuild this over the next decade and beyond. I was quite moved by it, I’ve got to tell you, and that has massively informed our plans. As you know, we ve put in the additional funding to support the orchardists throughout the region, but also, you know, further away and closer to where you are also for supporting the forestry industry, the local economic recovery plans. And for all of that to work, what I need on Saturday is a member for Eden-Monaro, who s part of my team and Fiona Kotvojs, if she can get that support on Saturday, and I m urging people right across the region and the district to support her. Because this next two years, there ll be a general election in two years, and for the next two years, we will be working hard to deliver these local economic recovery plans, to roll out these support for the orchardists, for the timber industry. And, of course, there s Snowy 2.0, a massive impact in the region right where all your listeners are. And to have someone on my team who can be in my Government, working alongside with us each and every day to ensure that recovery is happening at the pace we know it can achieve, that is something to vote for on Saturday. A general election in two years will decide the next government. But on Saturday, people who are on the other end of this radio, today, they re making a decision about how best to accelerate and support that recovery over the next two years within my Government and Fiona Kotvojs is the right answer. EISENHAUER: Prime Minister, talking of Fiona yourself, we spoke yesterday with Energy Minister Angus Taylor about a project known as Snowy 2.0, which is there at Lobs Hole. They re listening in this morning at Lobs Hole Ravine, as it s known around the old Washington area. That Tuesday that you were there with Paul Broad and Snowy, it s underway. PRIME MINISTER: It is. The final stamp has been given on the environmental approvals and it was so exciting to be there and there were so many locals there, you know, people who ve come from the local district working there as part of Snowy 2.0 and the excitement about the scale of this project. And obviously, I ve seen the project on designs and sitting in briefings and even in video and other presentations and I ve been out to the Snowy itself on a few occasions. But to be there looking at the side of the mountain where the drill hole is going to go in and how thumping big it is, is quite exciting. And you get, when you fly over it on the chopper and you see the 40 kilometres of tunnels that are going to be undertaken, and then to know that that is all being done under the strictest environmental regulations to ensure that this pristine part of our nation is totally preserved and as Paul said the other day, they ll leave it better than they found it. This is truly inspiring and for the community, the excitement that people have I just have no doubt are busting. EISENHAUER: Look, it s job creation. We talked about the forestry industry yesterday with Minister Taylor and we re talking about jobs in forestry. As we said earlier today, the trees don t grow overnight we re looking at opportunities and options for people to remain in the region and employ, but also, also for people to come in the region. The Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack talks about people moving from the city into the bush, and there s jobs up there right now, over 800 and there ll be 4,000 plus by the end of the project. PRIME MINISTER: The jobs are there. Jobs are already there. And there will be more. This next two years, again, it’s why this Saturday is so important David because a lot is going to happen in the next two years between now and the next general election, probably more in the electorate of Eden-Monaro than anyone s ever seen since Snowy was built the first time. And that s why having someone as part of my team with Fiona Kotvojs as my candidate, the Liberal candidate there, it s just so important. I mean, the biggest ramp up in activity, as Paul Broad was taking me through, as I was aware. But when you see it on the ground, it s another thing. That s all going to happen in the next 18 months to two years. It is an absolute dynamic period of time where we really need people with boots on the ground as part of my Government to ensure that we re delivering, rather than sniping from the sidelines and which always happens with politics. I need somebody in my Government so I can make sure that this project works as well as it possibly can for the locals. EISENHAUER: And continuing their economic support for the next phase after September, Prime Minister? PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, well, we re getting close to decisions there. We haven t made them yet. I had some more meetings just this morning, actually, and again yesterday, where the Treasurer and I are meeting very regularly as we re pulling all this data in. Things are changing rapidly, I mean, with the pandemic. I was on a call last night with a range of other world leaders, Israel and throughout Europe and even in other parts of the Americas, and as economies open up again, they are seeing more cases. We ve seen some more here. So what we re seeing in Victoria is not strange. It s consistent with what s happening in many other countries around the world where you re opening up your economy and we re on top of it, we re getting on top of it more broadly. And, yes, it s very concerning, but it is important that we understand the context. And so the COVID-19 impact will be there on our economy for some time to come. But the good news is in many parts of our economy, things are opening up again and people are able to get their businesses moving again. Things like HomeBuilder as well, are really important for the residential construction industry. That s generating jobs there. You know, I was out at Googong announcing that one a while back and that s a great development, state development there, and we want to see these homes going up. And for those whose homes have been devastated by bushfires, well, the clearance works that have been done with the New South Wales government and then on top of that, having the grants that will be available to support people with the rebuild as part of HomeBuilder and we ve made sure, made sure, let me underscore that if there are any delays that occur because of planning processes at the state level for people s homes, then we ve given the flexibility to the states to continue to provide those grants to ensure that they re not disadvantaged because building in a bushfire zone has some new rules and controls. So people won t miss out on that. I know the Labor Party was saying they are, but they ve been, you know, they re banging on about lots of stuff that isn t true. EISENHAUER: Talking of reconstruction and building, final question today. Prime Minister, I don’t know how you find the time, how is the cubbyhouse? PRIME MINISTER: Well, the cubbyhouse I m very proud of. EISENHAUER: I know. I know. PRIME MINISTER: Did Michael tell you about that? EISENHAUER: He did, yes. PRIME MINISTER: It s been… well, you know how it is. I mean, this is pretty much how I function. You know, you go very hard all the time, but you also need the odd sort of home distraction to refresh your mind. And my daughter and I have been building a cubbyhouse the last couple of weekends. It was for her school project. But I think Dad made quite a contribution to her school effort. But she was really excited about it. It s wonderful to spend time with your kids and doing things like that, you know, not just sitting around watching movies and things like that or, you know, that sort of stuff, but spending really nice time together. So I get enormous encouragement and refreshing inspiration out of my family with Jen and the girls. They re so important, as all our families are. And that s why, you know, I just keep going back to that trip to Batlow, David. I mean, it was so devastating for the community. But again, what just totally blew me away was despite just the heartache that people were going through, the determination, because they just love the place so much and so passionate about the place and what s going on there. And it s infectious. And I remember leaving there and with Michael and just said, you know, we re going to rebuild this. We re going to do this. And the local environmental recovery plan, sorry, the local economic recovery plan, I said to Michael as we left, the one there in Batlow, Tumut, Tumbarumba, through that district, it will be the first. That will be the first one we do, because there was such a clear way that we could help. And we ve set that out with the orchardists, we re setting it out more broadly as part of the plan that we’ve put money against. And so I think, again, I ll finish where it started. I need my Liberal candidate to be the member for Eden-Monaro so we can make this rebuilding dream a reality. That s what this Saturday is about. It s about making the dream and the passion that everyone has across the community, rebuild their economies, rebuild their homes, to rebuild their businesses and their farms and their producing and get it back to where they wanted to be. That s what Saturday is about. And Fiona Kotvojs is the person who can help me achieve that. We ve all got the passion, now I just need my person on the ground to make sure I can deliver and that’s Fiona Kotvojs. EISENHAUER: And Prime Minister, we really appreciate you taking the time. Thank you for your comments at the start of the interview as well. But taking time out of the massive schedule today to talk to us on the station, really appreciate it today. PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, David. I’d better get back to those issues in Victoria. All the best. EISENHAUER: Thanks, Prime Minister.

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