E & O E - PROOF ONLY
DERRYN HINCH: On the line now the Federal Minister for Families and Housing, Jenny Macklin, good afternoon.
JENNY MACKLIN: Good to be with you, Derryn.
DERRYN HINCH: Thank you, now this has been very well received and it seems to be generous and it is tough times for this, but I have a question. It is only a few days ago that the Prime Minister was saying that even $10 a week for pensioners - he was resisting any increase (inaudible) would add $2billion a year to the Budget. What has changed his mind?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well we have been considering these issues very seriously and of course wanted to make sure that we got this right both for pensioners but also for the economy and this is a very substantial package and certainly is going to help pensioners. As you know, single aged pensioners or disability support pensioners, veterans and carers, they are all going to get $1400 each and couples will get $2100 between them.
DERRYN HINCH: I know that is good, but Mr Tanner was saying this and Mr Rudd was virtually saying that well there is no guarantee here with the tough times that you will get any increase for pensioners and looking ahead to wait for the next Budget and wait till the middle of next year for the Review to come out, what changed the mind now they suddenly found the money?
JENNY MACKLIN: As you know we're concerned about two things. One is to give a down payment to pensioners and carers to make sure that we give them the support they need while we do a proper inquiry into the whole pension system. The Prime Minister has indicated that this Review will be implemented in the 2009/10 Budget but we wanted to give some support to pensioners while we do that proper inquiry.
DERRYN HINCH: And so with this bonus for Christmas coming on December 8th I think it is.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well you will be paid in the fortnight starting December 8th so it depends on what people's payday is.
DERRYN HINCH: Okay that comes in but this does not preclude that in the next Budget they could get a regular increase over like something like a $10, $20, $30 a week locked in rather than a bonus situation?
JENNY MACKLIN: What we are saying is that we will have the pension review finished by the end of February and we have also announced that that Review will be determined so it will be finalised and decided on in next year's Budget so people can expect to get long term reform from the beginning of July next year.
DERRYN HINCH: Okay let's put on the second half of your second hat of your portfolio, that's housing. Why this love affair with first home buyers? Was $7,000, up to $14,000 under Howard, came back to $7,000 under you, now it's back to $14,000 again and possibly $21,000. Why?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well we have recognised that those who are out trying to buy their first home are having a lot of difficulty getting their money together that they need to buy that home, we want to support them and that is why we have decided to give this boost, both to those who will be buying an existing home and an even a bigger boost to those who are buying a newly constructed home.
DERRYN HINCH: Well you've got, the first home buyers, young people, I have quoted some figures earlier, a survey I saw a couple of months ago they spend $50billion a year, and good luck to them, on having a good time, and many of them don't bother to buy a house and not in buying a house buying era, this thing about the Australian dream as if it is a right to own a home when you know people, I know people, when they are 40 before they can afford to buy a first home.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well what this is about, it is about providing support to those in a position where they want to buy their first home, most of them will be young couples, I imagine, but if they are a little bit older and they haven't had a home up until now, then they will be eligible to receive this increase for the first home owners grant and it's all about saying to them, here's some extra support, a boost to the scheme to really give people that extra help to buy their first home.
DERRYN HINCH: There's no means test here. If my dad was a Toorak millionaire and he decides now's the time to buy your house, I can get $21grand right?
JENNY MACKLIN: There never has been a means test as far as I know and I guess, there's always a balance you have to draw between how much it costs to administer those things but no, it's available as it's always been available.
DERRYN HINCH: What (inaudible) some of the real estate (inaudible) are already today saying, it won't change much because people will put $21,000 extra in their (inaudible) and go out and buy a piece of land and they will pay more for the house because they got an extra $21,000 from the Government.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well we hope that it will enable people to get into the housing market with this extra support, particularly those who haven't been able to get their first home and that's really (inaudible). It's time to make sure that we continue to support the home building industry, a very important industry in our country, so they're a couple of...
DERRYN HINCH: That's right, it'll trickle down there, even the guy who makes the nails, you know, does better when the house.....
JENNY MACKLIN: The last thing we want is to see that go down so this is all about making sure that we continue to support the industry.
DERRYN HINCH: Right, final question, back in the Families hat, were you split, were the Prime Minister and you split by the tension that Malcolm Turnbull has been having with his demands of $30 a week pension increase.
JENNY MACKLIN: Well unfortunately, the Liberals when they were in Government refused to give a proper increase to pensioners and recently they only talked about one group of pensioners, they actually ignored the needs of 2 million pensioners. The Government is making sure that we support all pensioners. There are 4 million pensioners and this Government is making sure that whether you are an aged pensioner, a disability support pensioner, someone on the carer payment, wives or widows, partners, veterans all of these people will receive this increase, including those seniors who are on the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. We think that they are all in need of extra support in these difficult times.
DERRYN HINCH: Well, Ms Macklin, thank you for your time.
JENNY MACKLIN: My pleasure.
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