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ABC News Breakfast -

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One of Labor's first election

promises is to spend $200

housing million to boost affordable

housing in regional cities and

take the pressure off urban cities Only certain regional

cities will be invited to ahigh

for the funding. Jenny Macklin

is the minister for families,

housing and community services.

She joins us now from Canberra.

Good morning. Take us through

how that $200 million will be

apportioned? We're going to if

we're successful at the

election, the Minister for

Housing and the minister for

sustainable population will

cities around write to 46 different regional

cities around Australia asking

them if they would like to

ahigh for some part of this

$200 million. We expect up to

$15 million to be allocated to

etch of the cities that is --

each of the cities that is

successful. The money will be

spent on things like urgent

infrastructure. It might be a

sewerage project a local road

project, it might

project, it might be something

to do with water supply or

electricity. All of these different infrastructure needs

that growing cities have in our regions. We expect around

15,000 homes to be built as a

result of this money that can

be now, if we're successful,

built to make sure that we get housing out

housing out into regions where

we do have jobs and growth is

wanted. None of this money is directly targeted towards

building a home, though? But

of course you can't build a

home if you don't have all the necessary infrastructure, if

you don't have the sewerage and

the roads, if you don't have

the water supply and

electricity, and what we've demonstrated over the last

couple of years, is if you put in those

in those extra supports, extra

financial supports to local

councils to help them build

more affordable developments,

then your housing of course is

also more affordable. But who

funds the housing itself? That

will be private development. It

is the case that of course the

Labor Government has put more

into affordable housing than

we've seen for a very long

time. So we've seen a very

significant boost to the

national rental affordability

scheme, a new scheme under this

government. Never delivered

before by a previous

government. We've also put a

lot xraf into social housing as

part of our stimulus program.

And we expect to build more

than 19,000 new social housing

units and of course Mr Abbott

when he was in government saw a

previous Liberal government

slash public housing funding. But what seems to be

geting in the way of many of

these developments right around

the country is community attitudes and community backlash. They don't want backlash. They don't want these

developments in their streets

or near them. How exactly would a Gillard Government overcome

that? That's exactly why we've

said we'll write to 46 different

different regional cities and

really leave it up to those

local councils or groups of

local councils to make their decisions about whether or not

they want to be involved in

these developments. We do

understand ... I've been there,

though, a lot of local councils

are finding that argument a

follows lose ing one. It logically

follows a great whack of this

unspent and certainly not unspent money could simply under up

resulting in new homes. I don't

think that's likely. I think we

have many, many cities that are

growing and want to grow, that

they want to see good

developments take place in

their cities. They understand the infrastructure pressures

that do apply as a result of

development in their cities.

And we want to make sure that And we want to make sure that

this money is available for

that very important

infrastructure that will mean

that housing is more affordable

in their town. Now, you've been

I'm sure very closely trying to

feel the mood of the electorate. We've had a

Newspoll out today that's put

Labor in almost an assured

election-winning lead at the

moment but how much of moment but how much of an issue

do you believe backlash do you believe backlash over

the way Kevin Rudd was deposed

is trying to play out over this

election On the poll first, we

all recognise just how tight it

is going to be. We ... This

poll doesn't have it as

terribly tight right now. We

all know elections in Australia

if you look back over history

they're always pretty close.

And I don't think that this one

other will be any different. On the

other issue, I think it's

really important to recognise

the Australian people are going

to be looking at what both

sides, what the government and

Mr Abbott are offering. What is

it that we're offering the

Australian people? On the issue

of sustainable populations,

that's it's the Labor government

that's saying we want to offer

practical policies to deliver

more affordable housing in more affordable housing in our

regional cities. Tony Abbott

just wants to complain about

the past and of course, even

though he says he wants to get

rid of WorkChoices, we've got

Eric Abetz out there telling

everyone that there will be

regulation changes, ministerial

interference to make sure that

WorkChoices continues. Yes, but

you didn't actually address

that particular question of mine, which is whether mine, which is whether you're

picking up whether backlash

against the way that Kevin Rudd

was deposed is actually going

to be a problem for the Labor

Government in this election. Do

you think it will be? I'm not

picking that up in my electorate. Where of course I

was out and about over the

weekend. The issues are all

about cost of living. Of

course, people are always

concerned about the pressure on their own family budgets their own family budgets and

that's why this government's

been so determined to deliver tax

tax cuts, to deliver the

stimulus payments through the

family payments system, an

increase in the pension. These

are the issues that people are

talking about on the street in

my electorate. And of course,

they're looking to us to demonstrate what it is that

we're going to deliver in our

next term of government and

Julia Gillard has made it very

clear that she wants to address

some of the concerns that

people have in the cities

around sustainable populations,

particularly the pressures on congestion, and that's why

we've introduced the policy we

have. As minister for

families, there's a very

particular area there where that that immigration issue

intersects with your portfolio.

And that is, that if a

sustainable population is to be

maintained and if you can't do

very much about the death rate

and you don't really have any

control over the birth rate,

all you can really then deal

with is your immigration rate.

Would you like to see

quarantined the family reunion

component of the immigration

intake, even as the Gillard

Government tries to cut back on

the number of Australians?

Should that element be

quarantined from any cuts? Really, these are important

considerations that each

government makes and they make a balance between the family

reunion component and of course

the need for skilled labour,

the other parts of the

immigration program. But that's

not the only issue when it

comes to sustainable population comes to sustainable population

matters. No, but is the issue

I'm asking you about this

morning, in particular our

capacity as minister for

families, 'cause family reunion

goes right to the heart of the

relatively new Australians

wanting to have their family

here with them, would you like

to see that element of the immigration policy

quarantineed? Those questions quarantineed? Those questions

of the proportion of immigration intakes that will

go to family reunion are not in

my portfolio as you know. I do understand how important it is

for families, but they are

questions that I think you

should ask Chris Evans but I

really want to come back to the

whole question of

sustainability. It is about

making sure that the cities and

towns a we live in have the infrastructure

infrastructure to manage the

population growth that they

confront. And that's why we

want to take pressure off our

major cities, the capital

cities, and really prove bide

additional support to those

cities that want to grow, that

want some assistance with their

infrastructure and affordable

use housing and that's why

we'll put this extra money into

those cities and townses. Good