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ABC News 24 10am News -

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(generated from captions) The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has just begun a media conference in Brisbane in Petrie.Ladies and gentlemen, I guess the first thing to say is congratulations on the work you do, it's very important that we here in Australia can build the kind of emergency vehicles that you are building so well here. The fact that you are doing it successfully and competitively, despite some pretty fierce overseas competition, is a credit to you, jour skills, your hard work and the persistence and the creativity of your management.I guess the first thing to say is that I want to try to enjoy that - ensure that Australia remains a good place to do business. It become become, if possible, an even better place to do business. That is the first ry assurance I want to give you. The second re assurance that I want to give you is that, as far as I'm kerbed, we remain far as I'm kerbed, we must
remain a - concerned, we mis remain a manufacturing economy, not just a mining, agriculture, not just a education and services economy. education and services We have to remain a We have to remain manufacturing economy.The third re assurance I want to give you is that we will do everything we can to try to ensure that Australia has the skilled work force into the future that it needs.I am a university graduate myself and I am proud of the fact that I had an opportunity to go to university.But doing a trade no less than going to university is a good way to make the most of your life.And for far too long I think the stress has been on universities. Very important but we should never neglect the importance of trade skills.So what I announced yesterday as part of our policy launch for this campaign was a scheme to give apprentices in the skills that are in short supply a loan of up to $20,000 from the Government to try to ensure that those apprentices have got the financial support that they need to finish their trade. Because at the moment of the 60,000 that we expect to start in those trades next year on current figures only about a 30,000 will finish. And many of them will drop out because they think that it would be better for them to drop their trade and go off and get a job drive ing the truck in a mine or something like that rather than finishing the trade. So this money will be available to apprentice s. They won't have to go to the bank and give security: It will be available to apprentices on much the same basis that money is available to university students. You will get it, and you won't have to start repaying it until your income gets a little bit over $50,000 a year. And if you complete your apprenticeship, you will get a dis count on your repayments, you will get a 20% discount on your repayments so you will only have to repay 16,000, not the $20,000.So this is significant assistance for the tradies of the future. It's not a handout because it will have to be repaid. But it is nevertheless a hand up. It's about the Government making a sensible investment in the skills of the future, the Government making a sensible investment in the people who will carry our nation forward ahead
in the years ahead, the decades ahead so that etha we can stay a highly skilled, highly sophicated manufacturing economy.So, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for having me here today.Again, I just want to say well done, this is a factory which does good, honest work for people who are going to do good honest work keeping our community safe. I am a volunteer fiery myself back in NSW. I've just seen a factory where perhaps we should think of getting our Rural Fire Service trucks from!.Yes!.Kevin is saying yes very loudly.And, look, in the discussion earlier I learned a bit about some of the latest fire fighting techniques which I have to say have not yet percolated down to the Davidson rural fire brigade. So when I get back to Davidson after the election I will be able to tell the guys I serve with that in future we might be able to make a better job of protecting the bush interface than we have been able to do in the past. So, Kevin and team, thank you very much for having me, it's great to be here and I will do everything I humanly can to ensure that the future of this business is so many thousands of businesses like it right around Australia is brighter than the recent past. Thank you.So that was live from Petrie in Brisbane on the northern outskirts of Brisbane. The Opposition leader at a truck manufacturing company talk up one of the nish tifrs he announced in his campaign launch in Brisbane yesterday,