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Address to Tasmanian State Council, Hobart

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5 September 2015



Monday is the second anniversary of the election of this Government - this Abbott Government.

For two years now, every day we have been delivering on the plan that we put to the Australian people in that campaign.

On 7 September, I said, “Australia is under new management and once more open for business”.

I said that if you elected us we would build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.

I said that we would back hardworking Australians.

I said that every day our focus would be jobs, growth and community safety and two years on I can report to you; our backers, our supporters, our fellow MPs, that the plan is working.

Here in Tasmania there are almost 10,000 more jobs today than there were in September 2013.

Thanks to a good government in Canberra and over the last 12 months or so a very good government in Hobart.

Tasmania has gone from being just a great place to live and a great place to visit to being a great place to work and a great place to invest.

Over the last year, business investment is up 5 per cent here in Tasmania. Private investment is up 8 per cent here in Tasmania and construction investment is up 15 per cent here in Tasmania - confidence is surging back into the Tasmanian economy.

Now, right around Australia confidence is coming back because right around Australia the people who want to have a go, the people who want to get on with their life know that there is a government in Canberra which is backing it.

Since September 2013, our economy has created 335,000 more jobs.


Yes, in the first instance that is due to the creativity and the dynamism of Australian businesses.

And yes, in the second instance that is due to the hard work and the commitment of our labour force, of Australian workers.

But in the final instance, very importantly, that is due to a government which is working with people not against them.

That is due to a government that is working to back the hard working people of Australia, all the people who want to have a go.

If you are someone who wants your business to succeed - we are for you.

If you are a migrant who wants to join our team - we’re for you.

If you're someone who is saving for your retirement out of your own pocket - we're for you.

If you're a parent who wants to see your children going to better schools with better teaching - we're for you.

We are for the decent people of Australia who are striving to help their families, their neighbourhoods, their communities, their businesses. All of those people are the people that every day we are saying yes to.

So, all these good things are happening here in Tasmania because this is a Government which is delivering on its commitment to spend $400 million on the Midland Highway, to spend $40 million putting the international back into Hobart International Airport, to make Hobart the Antarctic research capital of the world with a $25 million investment and since the election there's been a $60 million commitment to the second tranche of the northern Tasmania irrigation scheme and isn't it terrific to see dams once more being built in this state and in this country?

And most recently, most recently, a $200 million commitment to ensure that the fabulous exports of this great state don't just get to the mainland but get to the world beyond.

That's what I want to see, more of these clean green products of Tasmania going out to the wider world so that the world will know that if it comes from Tasmania it is very, very good indeed.

Right around Australia, our policies every day are helping to lift the burdens off people; they're helping to encourage people who are having a go.

The carbon tax is gone and every household is $550 a year, on average, better off.

The mining tax is gone and that threat over the safety of investment here in Australia has been lifted.

Small business has had the biggest tax cut in history and any small business that invests $20,000 again and again and again and again in its business gets the instant asset write-off.

We haven't forgotten farmers. Farmers who invest in on-farm fencing, on-farm water infrastructure; an instant write-off. Farmers that invest in fodder infrastructure can write that off over three years.

So, wherever you look, this is a Government which is doing everything it can to say yes, to say yes to the hard working people of our country who want to have a go.

You know, since the election, after years of environmental logjams, since the election, thanks to a decent Environment Minister in Greg Hunt, we've said yes - yes - to new projects worth more than $1 trillion.


And we've cut red tape to the tune of some $2 billion a year every year for small business.

So, the plan is working and we're sticking to it. We are sticking to our plan. Our plan for lower taxes, our plan for more jobs, our plan for more infrastructure, for more trade and ultimately for far more prosperity for our country.

Every day there are further instalments of our plan and today I can announce what I believe will be a $72 million boost to the Tasmanian economy.

Many of you would remember that during the election the Liberal National Coalition committed $16 million towards a plan to upgrade the fabulous Cadbury's chocolate tour - something which the chocolate lovers of this room have probably experienced. I know I've experienced it and it's not been good for my waistline but by God it's been good for my enjoyment.

It was one of those marvellous Hobart tourist attractions which had fallen on hard times and we committed $16 million to help upgrade it. It was part of a $70 million upgrade of the Cadbury's works.

You all know that about 12 months or so later Cadbury decided that for all sorts of reasons they didn't want to go ahead on quite as ambitious a scale and they weren't going to be calling upon that $16 million.

Well, I don't want Tassie to miss out. I never want Tasmania to miss out and I have to say that there are some local members of parliament here. They go under the title of the three amigos. They don't want Tassie to miss out either.

Some people have looked at my ears and they say, "Did you get those ears from boxing in England or did you get those ears from playing rugby at Sydney university?" And I say, "No, the three amigos gave me those ears. By God, they're chewing on those ears every day."

Every day they're chewing on those ears and so I can today announce that there will be a $24 million co-investment fund here in Tasmania, $16 million from the Commonwealth Government, $8 million from the State Government - thank you Will Hodgman - we expect that to be matched on a $2 for $1 basis by private investors, that's $72 million boost to the Tasmanian economy thanks to that $16 million that would otherwise have gone to Cadbury.

And can I tell you that this is typical of the way this Government tries to work. We want to work in partnership.

First of all with state governments and, where possible, with local governments because if you've got the wisdom of two governments you're normally better off than if it's just the officials in Canberra operating on their own.

But above all else, we want to work with people who are prepared to put skin in the game because if they’ve got skin in the game, they haven't got their hands out, they're seeking a hand up.

That's what good government should do, work with people who are prepared to work for themselves, who are prepared to work to help themselves and that's why this $16 million in Commonwealth taxpayers' money - money that we have to respect - is not just going to be given out on a whim, it's going to be given on a competitive basis to people who come forward and say to us, "We have a project and we are prepared to match taxpayers' funds on a $2 for $1 basis."

That's what we're going to do and I think it will be very good for the workers, for the businesses and for the people of Tasmania.


But that's what we're always working to do. We are always working to help people who are prepared to go and have a go and this is what everything that we do between now and the election, which must be only about 12 months off, that's what we'll be doing all the time.

We will be looking to back hard-working Australians, we will be looking to deliver a tax cut to those people that are out there having a go for themselves and for their families, we'll be looking to deliver further tax relief, particularly to small businesses which are out there having a go every day, putting their lives on hold, putting their houses on the line so that they can invest, employ and serve our community.

That what we'll be doing.

Now that people have seen for two years this Government in action, now that people have seen us delivering on commitment after commitment, whether it be to scrap the carbon tax, to stop the boats too, to bring the Budget back under control, to get cracking on the roads of the 21st century, now that people have seen us for two years, they will have a very clear choice and, as always, it will be about who do you trust?

Do you trust a Government which has actually got us back on to a path to a sustainable surplus, reducing the deficit by a half a percentage point of GDP every year or do you trust a Labor Party which gave us a quarter trillion dollars of deficits in six years? The six biggest deficits in our history.

Do you trust a Government which is building up our defences to 2 per cent of GDP spending every year or a Labor Party which cut $16 billion from Defence and which did not place a single naval ship building order with an Australian yard in six years.

Who do you trust with border protection? Do you trust a Government which has stopped the boats or do you trust a political party that put out the welcome mat for the people smugglers?

Who do you trust to deal straight and honestly with you? A Prime Minister who has kept commitments or an Opposition Leader who back-stabbed two Prime Ministers?

It is going to be a very clear choice. A very clear choice.

If you look at the commitments that the Labor Party has made already, they've committed to bring back the carbon tax, they've committed to at least a 40 per cent reduction in emissions.

All the modelling says that that will require a carbon tax of at least $200 a tonne, at least six times what we experienced under Labor before.

They've already committed to a 50 per cent renewable energy target, that means an $85 billion over-build of generating capacity in the next 15 years.

They've committed to bring back the mining tax, they still support a bank deposit tax, they want to slug the retirees of Australia with extra superannuation taxes and then of course there's Bill Shorten's piggy bank tax, all those inactive bank accounts that he himself, as the relevant Minister, put confiscatory taxes on when Labor was in Government.

You see, what Labor are doing is that they are saying no to all the things that are vital for a decent and prosperous future, for us and our children.

They're saying no to cleaning up the union movement.

They're saying no to an expansion of our resources sector, conniving with green activists to stop the Carmichael Mine in Queensland even though it will be a $20 billion investment with 10,000 jobs.


And above all else, they are saying no to the Free Trade Agreement with China.

I want to dwell on that for just a moment.

They are saying no to the Free Trade Agreement with China.

I know that here in Tasmania we got a pretty good idea of the potential of the Free Trade Agreement with China, not for nothing did President Xi Jinping visit Tasmania; make a point of coming here to Tasmania last November.

I don't think it was the bottle of Sullivans Cove whiskey that I presented to him earlier in the year.

It wasn't just that.

It wasn't just the abalone I had sent up to him earlier in the year.

He came to Tasmania because he knows what this State can do for his country and in helping his country with clean, green exports, the people of Tasmania also help themselves and their children to have a better future.

That's what free trade is all about.

Trade means jobs and more trade means more jobs and more jobs means more prosperity.

It's as simple as that.

Now we all know just how half-hearted Labor are about the Free Trade Agreement with China.

It was an agreement which John Howard started and which this Government finished.

It's an agreement that went absolutely nowhere in the six years of Rudd, Gillard and Rudd.

Under this agreement, more than 95 per cent of our exports to China, our wine, our beef, our lamb, our cheese, as well as our services, as well as our resources, more than 95 per cent of our exports to China will be entirely duty-free.

That is what this agreement offers.

It's the only free trade deal that China has yet done with a major overseas economy.

It's a better deal than they did with New Zealand and New Zealand's exports have quintupled over the last five years under their deal with China.

This is a remarkably good deal for Australia.

It doesn't involve changing any workplace relations laws, it doesn't involve changing any migration laws. It doesn't involve reducing existing labour market testing and labour market protection.

Every way you look at it, this is a good deal for Australia.

Bob Hawke thinks it's a very good deal for Australia.

Bob Carr thinks it’s a very good deal for Australia.


Simon Crean thinks it's a very good deal for Australia.

The Labor Premier of Victoria thinks it's a very good deal for Australia.

The Labor Premier of South Australia says it's a very good deal for Australia.

The Labor Premier of Queensland says it's a very good deal for Australia.

The only people who don't say it's a good deal for Australia are Bill Shorten and the CFMEU and by the way there's one other person, someone called Brian Green. I believe he says it's not a good deal for Australia either. So you've got Bill Shorten, you've got Brian Green and you've got the CFMEU - what a unity ticket.

I think that Bill Shorten needs to worry about the company that he's keeping.

Right now, whenever he moves it's the CFMEU that are pulling his strings and whenever he opens his mouth it's the CFMEU's voice that you hear.

I say to you, my friends, this Government will fight for our future.

This Government will fight to make sure that the China Free Trade Agreement happens, that the exports to China deal happens.

This will set our country up not just for a day or a week or a month or a year. This will set our country up for decades and this Government will fight for our country's future.

And you know that we're capable of doing it.

I give you this pledge: we will fight just as hard for the China Free Trade Agreement as we fought to stop the carbon tax.

We will fight just as hard to say yes to the China FTA as we fought to say no to the carbon tax.

I believe in this country. I believe in our future. I know that when we get a chance we'll take it. I know, give us a level playing field and we are better than anyone else in the world and this China FTA is our chance to prove it.

We've spent most of the last couple of decades quite rightly saying to ourselves that we live in the Asia Pacific region, that this is the Asian Century and the last thing that we should do, living in the Asia Pacific, living in the Asian Century, is to snub Asia's strongest economy.

It's the last thing we should do and it's the one thing we will never do under this Government.

So my friends, we have many challenges but I know that we are more than a match for them.

Public life always involves choices. Public life always has challenges. But the choices have never been more important. They've never been more important and we have made our choices, our choices are for trade, are for jobs, are for development, they're for honest workplaces and they're to back the decent people of our country.

Thank you so much for your support.

I am so proud to be here.