Transcripts → 2024


Radio interview - Mix Canberra 106.3

Minister for Finance
Minister for Women
Minister for the Public Service
Senator for the ACT


Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Labor’s Budget; benefits for the ACT; Lizzo.

KRISTEN, CO-HOST: There is a few bits and pieces in the Budget, Federal Budget, for Canberra specifically, so it is kind of an exciting morning.

NIGE, CO-HOST: Indeed. And at this junction, friends, with no more padding required, we welcome the one and only – presumably Right Honourable – Katy Gallagher!

KRISTEN: Morning, Katy!

NIGE: Oh, hang on. There you go. Try that. Wait wait wait. There you go. There she is! Hi Katy!

KRISTEN: Hi, darl, how are you?


KRISTEN: Have you had much sleep? How – how yesterday rolled out I didn’t think so.

GALLAGHER: Can confirm, very little sleep. You know, so it’s sort of nervous anticipation beforehand and then it’s kind of hard to wind down. As you all know, when you have a big day at work.

NIGE: Yeah. Katy, to what extent – this might seem like a strange question – but when you hand the Budget down, as the people who handed it down, do you then sort of collectively take a step back and sort of clench your teeth and go now okay I guess we find out – are people going to like it, or are they going to turn on us?

GALLAGHER: Well, there’s a lot of – now, I don’t know if I’d say it quite like that, but there’s certainly – the 24 hours after is a real thing in terms of, like you kind of launch something that you’ve been working on for months and then just see what the reaction is. Yeah, it’s a bit challenging.

NIGE: Does anyone ever come to you and say hey thanks, I think that’s a really good Budget, you did a great job? Or is it always just, what’s in it for me and I want more of this and nyeh-nyeh-nyeh?

GALLAGHER: In Canberra you do get pretty comprehensive feedback. As you know. I do get the sort of assessment of the Budget as a whole. You get a whole mix, range of feedback. Some say it’s good, some say it’s not what they wanted, some think we should do more, some think we should do less. So, I think part of the challenge with the Budget is, you’re never going to get 100 per cent people thinking it’s the right thing, but try to find the right balance and try and do what you can. And it is one budget. I mean, there’s another one – we’ll start the next one in a few months, so.

NIGE: Take some time off first though Katy, just have a relax. You know?

GALLAGHER: I think so.

KRISTEN: And look, a couple of key things obviously for Canberra in regards to William Hovell Drive and AIS, which we’ve known about, and the War Memorial. I think living relief was probably the biggest one for us that we were like, tell us more. So, the power bill relief?

GALLAGHER: Yeah, sure. So, well, the really big one which I guess we knew about before is the tax cuts. So that’ll come in on 1 July and people will see that immediately in their pay packets. So that’s the first thing. And then yeah, what we were trying to do is find in addition to the tax cuts, what else can we do? Cause we recognise, and you know on your show everyone’s talking cost-of-living and the pressures they’re under, so, what more can we do? What more assistance can we provide without adding to the inflation challenge? Cause the real primary focus is trying to get inflation into the target range, so between two and three per cent, and not adding to that. And so this is a – we did the energy bill relief to concession card holders last year and it did take pressure off inflation. And so, when we looked at it we thought, how can we provide that relief but to a broader range of people and particularly those who sit above the concession card level but aren’t high income earners and have really found it pretty tough. And this was a way we could do that. Same with medicines, like capping the price on medicines for a year. I mean concession card holders get that for five years as well. And you know, and then rent assistance, obviously, for people on concessions to provide that. Cause we know rent and energy are the areas that have been really you know showing up in the inflation data.

NIGE: Big time, big time. Look, the one I love, and I’m not even – I never even went to uni. You’re wiping about $3 billion in student debt, which will benefit 57,000 people in Canberra. I feel like on behalf of those people specifically, we should say cheers. That’s a great idea.

KRISTEN: That is a lot.

GALLAGHER: Well, I think it’s actually the high inflation that sort of woke everyone, or drew everyone’s attention to what was happening with the way HECS is indexed, or HECS debt is indexed. And cause it was indexed to CPI, when we had that big increase – you know, up to seven per cent – people really noticed it on their bills. So, this is a much better way of doing that. Yeah. And it will be providing relief to anyone who’s got a HECS debt right now. Make sure that you get a fairer way of indexing that. And I think the average HECS debt you know in the $20,000 kind of category will get about $1200 off their debt. Which you know, I think particularly for younger people, that’s something they’ll take for sure.

NIGE: Damn right.

KRISTEN: It’s something. Better than nothing. Look, a question that we haven’t prepped you on, so feel free to say I need some time –

NIGE: Oh, what’s this one?

KRISTEN: We are about to do what we like to call the Mixtape here on the show, Katy. Because obviously, Mix. Mix tape. You’re welcome. We’re doing a mixtape for the Budget, so we’re about to ask listeners to call in and tell us a song that they might like to put on the mixtape in regards to the Budget. You know, it could be ABBA’s Money, Money, Money.

GALLAGHER: Aw, that’s the one I just thought of.

NIGE: Katy, what’s happened?

KRISTEN: I was gonna say, is there something for you? Or for you it’s probably Celebrate, as it’s over, it’s done.

GALLAGHER: Well, aw, yeah. Well, I went straight to Money, Money. So then you’ve taken that off me. Look, I’ve been pumping myself up this week on Lizzo. About Damn Time.

KRISTEN: Oh, okay! Good song.

NIGE: And when the music director says to me later, why the hell were you playing Lizzo, I’ll say, well the Senator requested it. What am I gonna say, no?

GALLAGHER: Well, I just find it’s sort of the pace I need, like when I’ve really gotta get into the groove, I’ve really got to get my wits about me. That I can – you know, there’s something about it that just gets me in the right space. And, to be fair, we’ve been working on this for months. So, you know, it’s About Damn Time.

KRISTEN: It is about damn time.

NIGE: This is the radio edit. We can get into that.


KRISTEN: Yeah, Katy! Alright, thank you. We know that you are so, so busy this morning. So thank you for you know joining us.

GALLAGHER: Thanks so much for having me on guys.

NIGE: We didn’t ask what the difference is between Treasurer and Finance Minister!

KRISTEN: Another time.

NIGE: Aw, okay, fine. We’ll ask you that next time, Katy.

GALLAGHER: Okay, I’ll be ready. See ya.