SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER
Minister for Finance
Minister for the Public Service
Minister for Women
Date: Sunday, 21 May 2023
CLINT STANAWAY, HOST: With a cost-of-living crunch, a housing crisis and also a referendum on the cards, how exactly is the federal government fairing? Let's bring in Federal Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher, in Canberra. Katy, thanks for your time on Weekend Today. Labor has been in power for one year now today. What are your party's biggest achievement so far do you think?
SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER, MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Good morning, and thanks for having me on. Well, yeah, it's been a really big year. I think we're doing what we said we'd do, all our election commitments. So you know, mindful of the cost of living pressures on households, so our cheaper childcare policies, our investments in Medicare, helping out with energy bill relief, and also trying to get wages going because that makes a real difference around the household table, taking action on climate change, another big area where we'd sort of, you know, lost pace with the rest of the world. And we're getting back at the table and obviously our international relationships, an important part of the work Penny Wong and the PM is doing right now actually, making sure that people see that Australia is back at the international table, and you know, wanting to be a strong presence in our region. So, it's been a very busy 12 months. Sometimes it feels a little bit longer than that.
SOPHIE WALSH, HOST: I can imagine. Minister one thing the PM couldn't do is get Joe Biden to come to his quad party. You are the finance minister, how much has that no show cost taxpayers?
GALLAGHER: Look, I mean, obviously, there were some preparation for putting in place that, you know, and we'll work that out when the time's right but you know, I think we recognise the situation the President was in, he's, you know, the PM said yesterday all politics is local, and you have to be there when there's really important debates going on in your own country. So these arrangements shift from time to time, but I think the important thing, the important thing for Australia was that that meeting, the quad meeting went on last night with those four leaders to make sure that you know, the rest of the world sees that India, Japan, the US and Australia are working together to make a safe and prosperous Indo Pacific region, and that's really the important element that went ahead last night, and hopefully we will be able to host the president here, you know, in the not too distant future.
WALSH: So as finance minister you don't know how much the quad preps cost?
GALLAGHER: Well, look, you know, obviously there is money that goes into preparing these, you know, that hasn't been finalised. We will get a full you know, take on that, when the time's right but preparations were being put in place obviously, as you would expect, when that meeting doesn't go ahead, you know, those arrangements will be unwound and there will be some cost to it, but that hasn't been finalised.
STANAWAY: Hey Katy Gallagher, people are hurting right the way around the country housing, cost of living, two really key issues right now for the government. How are you going to ease that burden?
GALLAGHER: Well, I think you saw in the last Budget, where we were trying to put in place those some of those cost-of-living package that didn't actually, you know, impact inflation in a in a negative way. So, there's two challenges going on in the economy or two main challenges. There's a few, but one of them is the cost-of-living pressure that people are feeling, and the other is dealing with this inflation challenge and trying to make sure that it gets back to a more normal range. And so our Budget was carefully put together, so where we could make things cheaper, so things like helping out with energy bill relief, cheaper medicines, putting that extra money into Medicare, to make sure it does make a difference for people and their costs, but not you know, making sure that we're not putting so much money into the economy that it makes inflation worse because that impacts households as well. So, look, you know, this is a balancing act, there's more work to be done. Obviously, we're looking at how we can put more or get our Housing Australia Future Fund bills through the parliament so we can get, you know, deal with some of the housing shortages, the supply shortages. So, there's a lot more work to be done, you know, it doesn't stop at one year. We've got heaps of work on our table that we've got to keep working on and cost of living, housing, is certainly two key ones.
WALSH: Some would say you guys are still in the honeymoon period. What are Labor's key priorities over the next 12 months?
GALLAGHER: Well, I think there's a couple that I've just talked about. So, cost of living, definitely, what more we can do there to make sure households you know, are supported where we can. Obviously, housing is one of those key areas, but the work of government goes on, so you know, making sure we are taking the opportunities that come from the net zero transition. The Voice to Parliament referendum, obviously is going to be a key priority in the later part of this year. So, there is stacks of work before us and you know, you got a really energetic team that wants to acknowledge the privilege it is to be in government, but also the fact that Australians expect us to put our shoulder to the wheel and work really hard for them and we intend to do that.
STANAWAY: Katy, Albo looks like he's having plenty of fun in the top job. He wants Labor to be in power for the next decade. How is he enjoying it?
GALLAGHER: Oh, look, I think people have seen you know what a great Prime Minister he is. I think, you know, he's hard working. He's authentic. He tells it as it is. And I think people relate to that and after a decade of, you know, changing prime ministers and all the rest of it, I think people are really supportive of stability and the leadership that he shows, he certainly is a great person to work for. I really enjoy that enormously and I think people see that, you know, an authentic knockabout guy who's made it to the top job and he intends to work really hard on behalf of all Australians.
STANAWAY: Katy Gallagher in Canberra thanks so much for your time on Weekend Today.
Lisa Glenday 0403 931 209 | Gallagher.Media@finance.gov.au