PETER STEFANOVIC: Now let's go to Canberra. Joining us is the Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume. Jane, good to see you. Thanks for your time. So the announcement by Richard Marles here on this program a little earlier, two military aircraft plus military personnel on the way to the Middle East as a precaution in case the conflict broadens beyond the current borders. What are your thoughts on this announcement today?
JANE HUME: That's certainly Pete, something the Coalition would support. Obviously, Peter Dutton was calling for a meeting of the NSC, the National Security Committee, of Cabinet just after the conflict. We were surprised that that didn't happen. Clearly, it has happened since and that's a good thing. We were also calling for back then, more military support to Israel and clearly that has now come to the fore. So that is something that we would support. We most importantly want to make sure that not only Israel but also Jewish Australians at home feel that support, the unequivocal support for Israel. That is entitled to defend itself. But most importantly, we also want to make sure that if there are Australians that are caught up in the conflict zone that they have the ability to exit safely with the support of the Australian military.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Jane, a second announcement today by the PM in DC. $2 billion worth of cheap loans and guarantees for our critical minerals miners. You just heard part of that from the PM a moment ago. Do you back this as well?
JANE HUME: Again, this is something that we welcome, the critical minerals facility loan facility was something that was set up by the Coalition Government. We were concerned at the last budget that that had been cut, this restores some of that funding, which is a good thing. I have to admit as a Shadow Finance Minister, I scratch my head and you know, get a little white knuckled when I see billions of dollars announced that haven't been included in the budget. I suppose where our concerns come from is that there is no shortage of investors in critical minerals in Australia. They don't necessarily need more subsidies. What we want to see is an expansion of that critical minerals list to include things like copper, nickel, bauxite, potash and phosphate. You know, there are other minerals as well that should be included there and most importantly, what critical minerals investors and miners need is a fast track approval process. So a reduction in red tape and secure, reliable and affordable energy to make those mining sites more profitable and more attractive to new investors. So there is more that the government can do that isn't necessarily just subsidies.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Okay and just finally, Jane, the RBA Governor, not pulling any punches last night saying rates will increase if they have to. If inflation is above 5% today, would you expect a rate increase on Melbourne Cup day?
JANE HUME: Well I don't want to preempt what the inflation announcement today might be or what the RBA Governor might do in response. We certainly will have her tomorrow morning and Senate Estimates so we'll ask those questions then. But she has made it very clear that inflation is higher than it's expected to be for longer, and we would like to see the government come up with a plan to tackle inflation, specifically to tackle inflation. Because right now we feel that the Labor Government isn't doing its fair share of the heavy lifting to bring down aggregate demand and try and reduce that sticky inflation.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Those childcare subsidies will have kicked in. Ahead of these numbers though. That's help to some families.
JANE HUME: Well, certainly you can put more money into assisting people with the cost of living but really the most important thing to do is tackle the causes, and that is inflation, aggregate demand. We must reduce inflation. It's the thief in the night that reduces your purchasing power, it erodes your savings. It reduces your standard of living. Rather than using taxpayer money to provide subsidies to help people cope with the cost of living. That's just like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole. How about we deal with the root causes of inflation. That's what this government is failing to do. It's spending more, $188 billion more than the Coalition would have at the last election. It's it's putting new taxes on farmers and on truckies, which of course has been directly passed on to groceries and on top of that its interventions in the energy market means that it's deterring new supply and we know that the only way to sustainably bring down energy prices is to increase supply, particularly in the gas market. But everything the government is doing seems to be encouraging investors to look elsewhere.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Jane Hume, thanks for your time, we will talk to you soon.