GREG JENNETT: Well, because the intergenerational reports span multiple decades, they also span multiple governments. It stands to reason, especially when they highlight shortfalls in revenue. So would the current Coalition opposition be prepared to back non-core partial tax and spending initiatives? We put that to Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume who's been holding committee hearings in Adelaide today. Jane Hume always good to have you back on the programme Now your Cost of Living Committee has been holding hearings there in Adelaide, I think with a transport focus to it. Have you learned anything about what we all understand to be a pinch point, industries that are very much driven by fuel prices and others? Have you learned anything about policy changes that could alleviate those pressures
JANE HUME: Yeah, absolutely, Greg. Today we heard from the transport and tourism industry, an industry which has really been doing it tough since Covid and trying hard to recover, but it's also passing on those costs to consumers. We heard from one airline that the Albanese Government's decision to deny Qatar Airways an additional 21 routes to Australia is actually going to decrease competition and keep domestic airlines and international airlines for domestic travellers up higher for longer. We also heard from the trucking and transport industry that the heavy road vehicle users charge is going to be directly passed on to consumers in an industry that is already on the tightest of margins with really difficult cash flow situations. And that's going to keep prices higher in groceries, in supermarkets. And finally, we heard, too, in tourism that the decision of the Victorian Government to cancel the Commonwealth Games is going to have a devastating effect, particularly on rural tourism operators, which is such a shame. But it's not just about industry obviously today was tourism and transport. We've spoken to energy, we've spoken to supermarkets, we've spoken to the charities and not for profit sector. But we also want to hear from individuals and we have a website. Your cost of living dot you know, gov no com, your cost of living. And we'd really like to invite your viewers to submit to take a five minute survey on how this cost of living crisis is affecting them.
GREG JENNETT: Alright, duly noted, Jane Hume and people can go and look that up if they wish. We won't have time to pull apart all of those facets of testimony that came through. But can I just ask you about the first one? What is the policy position on Qatar Airways and its request for 21 additional flights? What is the policy position that you have in opposition? Would you approve those or support the approval of those, even if they were to the detriment of Qantas?
JANE HUME: Well, this is the problem, I think, Greg, is that the decision, the thinking behind the decision has been so opaque. At first there was no discussion as to why the decision was being made. Now we hear it's in the national interest to save Australian jobs in the aviation industry, but we've seen no evidence of that. Now this committee will hear from Qantas in the coming weeks and perhaps Qantas can explain why it is so determined to maintain a lack of competition in the airline industry that will directly affect the cost of airline prices for everyday Australians. You know, Australians have a real love for travel and the fact that they're paying higher prices because of this I think is very disappointing.
GREG JENNETT: Alright, let's move on to some other matters that are looming this week. Yet another Intergenerational Report will come out. This time it'll tell us that we're tracking towards a population of 40,000,000 in 2063. No great surprises there. But of course, Jane Hume it's how you pay for the services they need. Will taxes on cigarettes, offshore gas and multinational companies, which is the government's current limited prescription for tax increases, be enough to get us there
JANE HUME: Well, I do get a sense from the early reports of this Intergenerational Report that this is essentially a Trojan horse for higher taxes. We know that the cost of aged care, that the cost of health, that the cost of NDIS are going up. Blind Freddy knew that. In fact it was specified not just in the last IG report, which was only two years ago, but also in the May budget. It sounds to me like a review rather than a plan to do something about it. We would actually like to see Jim Chalmers have a plan to tackle inflation, which would of course reduce the cost of all of these things and come to the table with some genuine reform suggestions around aged care, around NDIS which Peter Dutton has said he is happy for us to work with the government to genuinely reform those particular areas to make them sustainable into the future. That's something that the Government has denied and I think on aged care it's a terrible shame because there's an opportunity here.
GREG JENNETT: Okay, So on aged care, just to pull out one specifically, you say genuine reform in your own approach from the coalition, Does that open your mind to more user pays or linkage with superannuation tax policies or taxes and levies themselves? Are you open to all of those as they apply to aged care?
JANE HUME: Well, there's a number of options on the table as to how to make aged care sustainable into the future. But it's not up to one particular party to come up, you know, particularly in opposition, to come up with those solutions. We would like to work with the government to make sure that we can find those solutions in a bipartisan way to reduce the costs, to make sure that the aged care system is sustainable into the future and fair for all generations.
GREG JENNETT: Well, somehow I think we'll be talking about those specifics for many months, if not years ahead. Also today, Jane Hume the draught official first version of the legislation for Petroleum Resource Rent Tax is out for all to read. You may or may not have had an opportunity to do that, but based on the fact that it is in the public. Are you now prepared to say that the Coalition will help pass it in the Senate?
JANE HUME: Well, you're right, Greg. I have been at the cost of living inquiry all day, and I haven't had a chance to look at that legislation yet that will go through our normal party room processes. But what I would say is that the petroleum rent resource tax, which is just another step in the burden that's being placed, particularly on the gas industry, following price caps, following the safeguard mechanism. There's, you know, they're heaving under the pressure of regulatory burden and taxes, which is preventing new investment. This at a time when AEMO came out just today with a report that said we need more gas investment, more gas supply in the system and this will only make it harder.
GREG JENNETT: Is that a condition for passing it, then that red tape and regulatory mechanisms are removed as a quid pro quo?
JANE HUME: I think you'll always find that the Coalition would support a reduction in red tape and regulation and will always encourage more gas into the system because let's face it, the only way to sustainably bring down electricity costs into the future is to make sure that there is more supply. So we need to encourage more investment, particularly in that transitional fuel, as we move to a net zero future.
GREG JENNETT: All right. And just finally and quickly, Jane Hume I think it's being widely reported that you and James Paterson will be slugging it out for pre-selection slots on the Liberal ticket. Both would make it, though, wouldn't they? Why does that matter? The Liberal Party would be in a lot of strife if it couldn't get two elected.
JANE HUME: Greg I'd never comment on anyone else's pre-selections. I'm certainly never going to comment on my own. Suffice to say that I'm absolutely certain that both James and I will be there in the next Coalition government. Hopefully after 2025.
GREG JENNETT: Alright, somehow I thought I would get that response. But we are always up for the question nevertheless. Jane Hume I know you've got a lot on your plate there in Adelaide. Thanks so much for joining us again.