PETE STEFANOVIC: Ok, let’s have another go at Jane Hume, Jane can you hear me?
JANE HUME: I can hear you now.
PETE STEFANOVIC: We are off and running, good to see you Jane Hume. So, back to the first question, we can expect slower growth over the next 40 years. It's all ahead of the Intergenerational Report that’s coming up on Thursday. This is all as we all get older and live longer, that’s good for our health, but it’s harder to manage economically, so who’s going to pay for it?
JANE HUME: Well, don’t you feel that this is a bit of a trojan horse, dripping out information from the Intergenerational Report over a number of days and it’s only telling us what we already knew, which is that aged care, the NDIS and health are going to be growing pressures on the Budget. But it does seem like it’s also a bit of a frog in the boiling water, just getting us ready for higher taxes, it does seem like this is an excuse for higher taxes and quite frankly, it doesn't seem to be any solutions there for growing productivity, we knew that these were going to be increased problems, because they were already in the Budget in May and in fact, they're in the Intergenerational Report two years before, what we really want to know now is how the Government is going to reform aged care, and particularly the NDIS, to make sure that this cost stays sustainable into the future. Peter Dutton has put the offer out there to work with the Government to do exactly that. That's been denied.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay, so you got any suggestions?
JANE HUME: Well, that's exactly what we want to do. We want to work with the Government to make sure that the NDIS and aged care are sustainable. In fact, in the last Coalition Government, we had a reform package for NDIS, which was blocked by the then Labor opposition. Now that Labor is in power, they seem to be grappling with the same problems, but they're less communicative. They've actually said that they're going to decrease the growth of the cost of the NDIS, from 14% to 8%. They put that in their Budget, but there was no policy backing up how they were going to do that.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay, you got $141 billion a year. This is extra expenditure when it comes to the NDIS. Aged Care, health, defence plus the interest on those loans as well. I mean, the short answer to that is you're gonna have to increase taxes somewhere, aren't you?
JANE HUME: Is the only solution really increasing taxes? Surely, you could make your economy more productive, grow the pie rather than slicing it differently and, quite frankly, if your only idea of tax reform is increasing taxes, you're simply not using your imagination. The Coalition in the last Government made sure that taxes will lower, simpler and fairer both for businesses and for individuals. We expanded the free trade agreements, we lowered the cost of energy. These are productivity enhancing measures that grow the pie, rather than just chopping it up differently.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay, dogfight in the skies, Jane over airlines after Qatar was blocked from doubling its flights to Australia, still no explanation, no clear explanation just yet from the Government over that, does it need to tell us why?
JANE HUME: Well, that's certainly what we heard yesterday in the Cost of Living Committee. We heard from one airline that by blocking Qatar's request for an additional 21 flights to Australia, you are in fact decreasing competition, and pushing us airline prices for ordinary Australians. That doesn't sound like productivity enhancing and anti competitive behavior to me. So I do think that the Government has a lot to answer for on these issues.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Qantas says that it's been denied access to routes. I mean, this is just part and parcel of things. Do you accept that?
JANE HUME: Well, there's no doubt that competition in the airline industry in Australia is very limited indeed and competition, increasing competition is one of the ways that you can reduce prices. That's one of the things that we've been looking at as part of the cost of living committee that I'm on, that I chair and in fact, one of the reasons why I'm here in beautiful Port Augusta today with my colleagues, Senator Nampijinpa Price and Senator Kerrynne Liddle as well, so that we can talk to community groups, talk to charities, talk to business associations, and have a community forum as to how the cost of living is affecting them. We're also heading up to Alice Springs tomorrow to hear some ideas about how they would like to see the Government help with their cost of living crisis, that just doesn't seem to be going away. As long as inflation remains high, almost double the 2 to 3% band that the RBA looking at, well, I'm afraid the cost of living crisis is only going to get worse and unless the Government has a plan to tackle inflation, a specific plan to tackle inflation they're just making the problem worse.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay. Speaking of colleagues, are you about to knock James Paterson off his perch at Victoria's top Senate spot at the next election?
JANE HUME: Oh, Pete. Look, I never talk about other people's pre-selections. I'm not about to start talking about my own. What I can guarantee you is that my friend Senator James Paterson and I, will both be part of the next government, hopefully a Coalition government, after 2025.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay, so do you want number two or number one spot?
JANE HUME: I'm not talking about pre-selections, and I never have, and I never will but I can assure you that James that I will both be there and will both be a part of the Dutton Coalition Government.
PETE STEFANOVIC: You're not exactly denying it, Jane Hume. I mean, I'm wondering, I mean, there's reporting on it already. Is there really a need for a potentially damaging fight given you'd likely succeed in first or second spot anyway?
JANE HUME: Pete, I'm not going to talk about pre selection, so you can push as much as you like. I know the media loves this stuff and quite frankly, it's a decision for party members. But the most important thing is that we keep talking about what's important to ordinary Australians, which is the rising cost of living and how it's going to be dealt with.
PETE STEFANOVIC: Okay, Jane Hume, Shadow Finance Minister, appreciate your time as always, talk to you soon.