Topics:   Queensland Premier; Lockdowns; July 1 tax cuts;



David Koch:  Finance Minister Simon Birmingham joins me now. Simon Birmingham, are the comments from the Queensland premier and her chief medical officer, a danger to the public health of Australians?


Simon Birmingham: Good morning, Kochie. Well, they’re certainly deeply unhelpful, and I think the politicisation of the vaccine rollout that has been attempted by some and particularly by some state politicians in Queensland is shameful. Now, 7.6 million doses of vaccine have been distributed and received by Australians. That’s a really good start. And what we want to see is, of course, how all Australians proceed through the vaccine rollout as fast as the supply can be made available. And I urge people to listen to sound sensible advice like you just heard from Nick Coatsworth. Rather than some of the more extremist claims that have been made, such as by the Queensland premier and her chief health officer.


David Koch: So you’re saying she’s an extremist? And she is dangerous because we should have confidence in our politicians. They are undermining the vaccine program. It’s frustrating. It is dangerous. Why isn’t everyone on the same page? Is national cabinet now dysfunctional, a failure?


Simon Birmingham: It’s deeply frustrating now it’s for Annastacia Palaszczuk who won’t come on your program, apparently, to explain what she’s up to. I don’t know whether it’s because there’s a federal election due in less than a year and she’s wanting to do the Labor Party’s bidding or whether she’s just stirring trouble for the sake of it. But whatever it is, it’s unhelpful. It should stop. All governments should be working cooperatively on the vaccine rollout. Yes, it’s been challenging. The health advice has changed along the way in terms of recommendations about which vaccine is preferred for different age groups. We’ve had challenges in terms of supply because European countries and drug companies have favoured those nations who’ve had high rates of COVID for the delivery of vaccines like Pfizer, which has put countries like New Zealand and Australia at the back of the queue in terms of receipt of some of those vaccines. But they’re coming. And we saw huge numbers, 145,000 Australians being vaccinated yesterday. And we want to see those big numbers continue in the days, weeks and months ahead. Which will enable us to get to everybody.


David Koch:  It is now a race because the ripple effect on business is enormous. These lockdowns. What are you doing to help business survive these latest lockdown’s?


Simon Birmingham: Well it’s 1st of July, Kochie. And the good news for all Australians today is that for business, small business will see a further reduction in the company tax cut. We see an extension in terms of the full expensing measures that are there to help stimulate activity across the economy. We see more than 10 million Australians receive tax cuts in the form of the low and middle income tax offset that will mean there’s another $1080 available for some for many Australians in terms of support through that measure. There are, of course, a range of activities that we’re continuing in terms of COVID support payments across the economy, particularly to those affected by longer lockdowns.


David Koch:  Simon Birmingham. Thanks for joining us.