Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of joint doorstop interview: Karratha, WA: 11 April 2016: visit to the Pilbara region; resources industry; financial services industry Royal Commission; ASIC; NBN; Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal; high speed rail



Download PDFDownload PDF

UNCLASSIFIED

PRIME MINISTER

THE HON. MALCOLM TURNBULL MP

TRANSCRIPT

11 April 2016

Doorstop with Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg and Member for Durack, Melissa Price

E&OE…

MELISSA PRICE:

Well it’s fantastic to be here in the Pilbara and I welcome the Prime Minster and also Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. There’s a lot to love about being in the Pilbara, we all know about its thriving recourse industry but it’s also ripe for agricultural

industries and also tourism. So today we’ve heard a lot about the local business industries here how they’re committed to the Pilbara, and it’s so fantastic to have the Prime Minister here in the heartland of the Pilbara and to actually hear about what the people’s needs are for the future. Thank you, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks Melissa.

It's great to be here with Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Energy, Resources, Northern Australia. This is your patch, Josh, very much so. We've had a great visit.

We've met with a number of small businesses, contractors who've given us real-time feedback on how the town is going, how the resources sector is adjusting to the changes as these big projects come to be completed, and we move to the production phase of this extraordinary resource economy.

And it's been great also to come with a cheque for $10 million that Melissa, through her advocacy, has won for her community to support the arts and culture centre. So right across the

board this is a very exciting time. We are within a few years going to overtake Qatar in the gulf, in the Middle East, as the largest exporter of LNG.

This is a critically important fuel as we move to a cleaner, greener, global economy. So, glad and delighted and honoured to be here at the heart of it, and of course looking forward to going over to Barrow Island in a moment to see this gigantic Gorgon project, US$54 billion of investment, the largest private sector investment in Australia's history.

Josh.

MINISTER FRYDENBERG:

Thanks very much Prime Minister. It is a privilege to be here with you and the local member Melissa Price, as well as Senator Dean Smith.

Prime Minister, you're absolutely committed and your Government is committed to the development of Australia's north, and we're doing that through the implementation of the Northern Australia white paper and the $5 billion concessional loan facility which will support important economic infrastructure here. Transport, communications, energy infrastructure in particular, as well as water infrastructure.

As well as what the Prime Minister said about the resources and the energy sector, it's highly innovative and Australia plays so well in this particular space. And if we go across to the Gorgon facility, we'll see firsthand the massive carbon capture and storage facility that has been built there, bigger than anywhere else in the world. It’s the largest subsea infrastructure facility built and it has been done by Australians with the workforce being 99% Australian. So there's a lot to be proud of with the gas industry, a lot to be proud of with the iron-ore industry and this area is

very well-known for the work it's doing and jobs it's creating in the salt, as well as in fertiliser industry.

So, thank you, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Great to be here.

JOURNALIST:

Could I take you straight away to issues Federal? Warren Entsch today has said that your decision against a Royal Commission is a ‘captain's call’ - that’s got a certain echo from previous times. Is this a captain's call that you can defend?

PRIME MINISTER:

Let me tell you, the thought bubble of Bill Shorten to call for a Royal Commission into the banks is just a classic overreaction to some very measured and I thought constructive criticisms that I

made earlier in the week. You’ve only got to see the lack of commitment that Chris Bowen shows when he's talking about it.

Labor says they want to have a Royal Commission into the banks. Well, they haven't told us what the terms of reference would be, so what's it actually going to be about? They've said the word ‘Royal Commission’ and said the word ‘banks’, they don't know what the focus of the inquiry is going to be.

They overlook the fact or don't want to remind people of the fact that a year ago they voted against having a Royal Commission when the Greens proposed it.

They overlooked the fact that they, in six years in office, they didn't have any inquiry into the financial services sector. We had a financial systems inquiry headed by David Murray to which we have responded. When that response was published, Labor didn't make any call for a Royal

Commission.

The reality is we have a highly regulated financial services sector. We have ASIC, we have APRA, we have the Reserve Bank, and the Treasurer stays in constant touch with those regulators and as indeed I do.

Now let me say this to you - ASIC has all of the powers of a Royal Commission, all of the powers of a Royal Commission plus much more. It has the ability to initiate prosecutions, to take action, to issue fines, to ban people from trading, from operating as company directors, or in financial services. So, what we have already is a very serious, very comprehensive regulatory structure. So what Bill Shorten is doing is grabbing at another attempt to distract, another attempt at one of his thought bubbles to try to create a distraction from a very real need for an ASIC-like regulator in the construction sector, the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, the head of ASIC, Greg Medcraft, told a Senate inquiry in 2014, "Australia was a bit of a paradise for white collar crime." If that's the case, is ASIC doing enough to satisfy critics, including those on your back bench?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, if ASIC needs to do more then it's up to Greg Medcraft to identify where he needs more resources. We change the legislation, we improve it all the time. Let me give you a very good example.

Last year, we changed the law to give the Australian Taxation Office greater powers to clamp down on and stop multinational tax avoidance. Some very significant additional powers. The Labor Party voted against that bill. Scott Morrison managed to get it through the Senate with the support of the Greens.

PRIME MINISTER:

Every day we are seeking to ensure that our regulators, our taxation office have the tools that they need here in 2016 to ensure that everybody pays their tax. We are collecting GST on digital services, we're going to collect GST on all of these digital products liked advertising on Google and Facebook. This has been going on for years. No GST collected… what did Labor do about it? Nothing. It's taken a Coalition Government to ensure that our tax system has real integrity.

We're taking action, they're talking.

JOURNALIST:

You’re in the Pilbara so let’s talk about the Pilbara.

PRIME MINISTER:

That is good.

JOURNALIST:

I was at Ngurrawaana community last week and I'm sure some of the things they've got going on all three of you would be excited about in regards to your Northern Australia policy, but what they need is the funding and what they need more than all else is internet. How is the Federal Government providing internet to remote communities such as Ngurrawaana?

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you. Let me deal with the internet. The NBN is rolling out rapidly.

The satellite service that will deliver a 25 meg down, 5 meg up service will begin commercial operations in May and so what that's going to ensure is that remote communities like the one you mentioned, anywhere in Australia, will have access to very good internet.

Right across the country now there are nearly 2 million premises that can get access to the NBN, by 30 June it will be a quarter of all premises, two years later will be three-quarters and the project will be complete in 2020.

It was a bad project, poorly conceived and poorly managed under Labor. We've turned it around and getting built.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, in relation to the Road Safety Tribunal it is designed to ensure truck transport is safe.

How can you be opposed to something like that?

PRIME MINISTER:

This tribunal, this RSRT was nothing more - as indeed Mr Wong a former Transport Worker’s Union official has been saying today in the media, this was nothing more than a deal between Bill Shorten, Julia Gillard and the Transport Workers' Union, designed to get more members for the TWU and disadvantage independent contractors and owner/drivers. And that's exactly what it's doing.

This order they've just made has got nothing to do with safety. It's got everything to do with putting mum and dad businesses, family businesses out of business and that's why we're going to move to set that order aside, and when we have the numbers in the Senate to support this to support this, which we hope we can do after the election, we will move to abolish the tribunal.

So, we are standing up with family businesses, we're standing up for small business and enterprise, we're standing up for owner drivers.

JOURNALIST:

Land value capture, one of your favourite topics, Prime Minister, there's suggestions the old favourite, the VFT's back in town, very fast track between Melbourne and Brisbane. Is land value capture the sort of economy-driving thing that could drive a train?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it certainly will - it can certainly contribute to financing a project.

Look, as you know, we have a new cities and new approach to infrastructure.

Obviously, there will be always be a big role for the Government to make grants, to make direct investments but there's also the opportunity to capture some of the considerable value that is created in land by the construction of transport infrastructure.

That's how railways were financed in the 19th century actually. It is not actually a radical new plan at all, it is actually a sensible old plan that's been forgotten.

What that means is you've got to look at rail, whether it is between cities or indeed within cities, and ask yourself how is this changing the value of land? How is it promoting opportunities for development for greater amenity, and how can we capture some of that value to finance the infrastructure so that the taxpayer gets a better deal and citizens get better infrastructure sooner? Thanks very much. Thank you.

JOURNALIST:

Bill Shorten is suggesting delaying the pace at which the pay increase happens for the truck drivers. Is that fair enough?

Well, what Mr Shorten's got to decide is whether he is prepared to admit that this tribunal that he set up was nothing more than a membership recruitment exercise for the Transport Workers Union. He's got to recognise that this tribunal that he set up and that he has steadfastly supported is going to put tens of thousands of small Australian businesses, family businesses, out of business.

Now if he wants to support us in setting that order aside then I'd welcome his support, but it would be a colossal admission of fault on his part. Thank you.

ends