Disclaimer: This transcript contains non-portfolio content. A full version of the transcript can be found at https://www.senatorbirmingham.com.au/news/interview-transcripts/
Question: Just on other matters. Queensland theme park bosses have told Nine News up in Brisbane that they have been blindsided by [indistinct] negotiations coming to [indistinct]. Can you tell us specifically why Queensland theme parks aren’t able to get loans from the Federal Governments and do you know why talks had broken down?
Simon Birmingham: The companies that own the Queensland theme parks, Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure are both receiving more than $80 million in support from federal taxpayers. Now, as they move to open their theme parks, the best thing that can happen for them is to have some interstate visitors allowed to come into Queensland, and to provide normal custom back into those theme parks.
Question: So, it’s a- the purses are closed at the moment?
Simon Birmingham: Purses have been very open in providing more than $80 million of federal tax dollars for Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure to underpin the operations of those theme parks.
Question: And Senator, China’s asked that [indistinct] Australian [indistinct]. Just how soon do you think [inaudible]…
Simon Birmingham: My understanding is these Chinese regulations are applying universally, they’re not country-specific. Now the World Health Organization has been quite clear all along that it doesn’t see that COVID can be transmitted via food or produce. So, ultimately, we will work through making sure that our exports have the support necessary to comply with Chinese requirements as they are [indistinct].
Question: Are you worried that China might [indistinct] Australian exports, or imports, rather?
Simon Birmingham: We’ll continue to work to make sure our exporters have the support by whatever regulatory arrangements are put in place. And whether that’s to market into China or elsewhere around the world, in terms of these requirements, we’ll make sure that they have the support necessary. We have absolute confidence that Australian produce is the safest in the world, the highest quality in the world. And that's why it's so popular in markets like China.