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Transcript of doorstop interview: Gladstone, QLD: 24 May 2016: Gladstone communities precinct project; Scott Morrison's dodgy property draft reports; Malcolm Turnbull's $50 billion tax cut for big business; national interest test for domestic gas

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TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2016

SUBJECT/S: Gladstone communities precinct project; Scott Morrison’s dodgy property draft reports;

Malcolm Turnbull’s $50 billion tax cut for big business; national interest test for domestic gas.

JOURNALIST: What’s happening today?

ZAC BEERS, CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: So today I’m pleased to be here with the Shadow Treasurer Chris

Bowen to talk about a project that I know has been very important for this region for a long period of time. It

was originally conceived in 2008 and I’m pleased to be here today with Chris to talk to the Council and talk

about this project. It’s no secret that the Gladstone region has been doing it tough for quite a while now.

There’s a range of community services that although they do a great job need every bit of help they can get

to not only maintained the services they provide now but increase those services and make them more

accessible for the regions. So today we’re here to talk about a specific project, the Phillips Street project, the

community precinct, and Labor’s commitment to make sure that project happens.

JOURNALIST: What are some of those services?

BEERS: So services like the Gladstone Community Agency which provides care for disabled people in the

home. We’re also got the Women’s Health Centre, and the Community Advisory Centre which provides a

range of services through the council.

JOURNALIST: What’s the commitment?

BEERS: So the commitment is to provide $5 million which was a request from the Council to fund the project.

It’s been, as I said, on the burner for a long time and I’m proud to say the Labor Party is committed, as we

were in previous elections, to make sure that this project goes ahead.

JOURNALIST: Why has it been on the burner for such a long time?

BEERS: The issue has been attracting funding. There was a commitment made by the Labor Party at the

previous election to fund this project. The request has since changed and I’m proud to say that Chris is here

today to talk about the specific funding request that was made to make this project happen, to make sure it

gets over the line.

JOURNALIST: And what can it do for the people of Flynn?

BEERS: So look, this - it does a couple of things. Firstly, it creates jobs and it’s no secret that there is a job

shortage in Gladstone at the moment, the area is doing in tough. So it’s going to immediately provide some

jobs that will assist with the difficult period we’re going through but longer term it’s also going to increase the

number of jobs that are provided through these services which will in turn increase the number of services

that are provided and make it easier for people to access those services.

JOURNALIST: Zac, just what was your role in securing this funding?

BEERS: So, my role in securing this funding was pretty integral. When I first met - after I was preselected as

a candidate - I first met with the Mayor Matt Burnet, the Deputy Mayor at the time and the Council and also

the State Member Glenn Butcher. We had a conversation about some of the important projects in the region

and this was identified as the number one priority in the Gladstone area for the Gladstone Regional Council.

As I said, it’s been a project that’s been on the burner for a long time.

So I went to work chasing the funding through potential Labor Government if we were elected at the next

election, having the conversations that needed to be had with the appropriate Ministers to make sure they

are aware of the issues, aware of the project and aware of the value it will add to the region.

JOURNALIST: So is the funding dependent on Labor getting into power?

BEERS: Yes. I’ll let Chris talk a bit more about how all that stuff works but essentially that’s the reality if we’re

not elected as Government.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well it’s fantastic to be back in Gladstone today with Labor’s

candidate Zac Beers. Zac is a very very impressive candidate.

I’ve been very impressed with the way he has been putting his case forward and Gladstone’s case forward

and the case of the people of Flynn to the alternative Government. And today of course we’re announcing

that an elected incoming Labor Government will commit $5 million to the Phillip Street precinct. This of

course is a very important project for the people of Gladstone. We know that this has been a project which

has been called for by the Council, by the Mayor for years.

A Labor Government will make it a reality.

This is a project which is a win-win. It brings together community services providers in the most efficient way

possible, and allows them to use the savings created by being in such a good and efficient environment to

reinvest that back into better services for the community. And of course it creates jobs as well, not only in

construction but ongoing in terms of the contribution to the Gladstone economy.

Now we know in the Labor Party just how much of a transition the Central Queensland economy is going

through. We know that places like Gladstone need this investment. I’d just say this; if Zac Beers can achieve

this much as the candidate, just imagine what he could achieve as the member for Flynn. He has been

forthright with Bill Shorten, myself and the Shadow Cabinet arguing for this funding for the people of Flynn

and hence I’m here today announcing it with him, thanks to his representations.

Only a Labor Government will deliver this. We’ve had a Liberal National Government for three years and of

course we’ve seen very little in terms of investment for the people of Gladstone, a Labor Government will

make this a priority.

I’ll just deal with a couple of national issues for our friends at Channel 7.

Firstly, revelations today that the Treasurer of Australia has been engaged in a grubby little exercise of

working towards dodgy analysis and modelling to support his claims on negative gearing. Now the Treasurer

had a little game plan here. He was going to act all surprised when all this so called modelling came out. He

was going to say ‘look this is more evidence of the independent property sector.’ He’s concerned about this.

And yet there’s an email trail which shows that the Treasurer was involved in meetings where this so called

analysis was planned and was looking forward at receiving it before it was released publically. Now the

Treasurer should just fess up. He’s been caught red handed. He can’t win the policy argument based on its

merits so he’s worked with vested interest to concoct dodgy analysis and he has been exposed. He has

spent more time talking about Labor policies in this election. Much more time. More time working on dodgy

analysis to try and undermine Labor policies than he has on announcing his own. And it just goes to show.

This is a Treasurer simply not up to the job.

The final issue I’ll deal with is this: the Prime Minister today has said his $50 billion corporate tax cut is fully

funded. He seems to think it’s fully funded because he’s put a line in the budget about it. Well that is creative

accounting. Dodgy accounting. The fact of the matter is the Government - Malcolm Turnbull - didn’t even

want to cost his $50 billion corporate tax cut. We had to drag it out of the Treasury’s Secretary. And now he’s

claiming by some magical accounting trick that he’s funded it because he’s put it in the budget. If the Labor

Party tried this the Government would be crying all sorts of mayhem. Malcolm Turnbull thinks he can get

away with it. The fact of the matter is the biggest hit to the federal Budget announced in this election has

been Malcolm Turnbull’s reluctantly costed and completely unfunded corporate tax cut.

The Australian people face a choice on July 2. Investment in schools or a corporate tax cut. We will invest in

schools - Malcolm Turnbull won’t. Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a $50 billion tax cut to big business in

Australia - we won’t. That’s the choice facing the people of Australia. And the choice facing the people of

Flynn on July the 2nd is Zac Beers who’s already delivering before he’s even the local Member or the current

Member who has not delivered in his time as Member for Flynn.

Happy to take some questions.

REPORTER: So with the health precinct, is that $5 million of investment only dependent on Labor winning

the election?

BOWEN: Well we can’t deliver that commitment if we’re not in Government. Government makes these

funding commitments. So if we’re in Opposition, it would be a fine idea which doesn’t get implemented

because Oppositions don’t deliver cash. Governments make funding commitments. If it’s a Labor

Government, it’s a firm commitment. If there’s not a Labor Government, unfortunately this investment won’t


REPORTER: If Labor wins election but Zac Beers doesn’t win this seat, will the funding still be given to…

BOWEN: Yes it will, but Labor has a much better chance of forming Government if Zac Beers is the Member

for Flynn. That’s the point. If you want a Labor Government in Flynn, you’ve got to vote for Zac Beers. If you

want this funding, we’ve got to see Zac as the Member for Flynn as a member of the Labor Government.

Labor will deliver this funding to the people of Flynn regardless of the election result in Flynn but it would be a

lot harder for us to win Government if Zac’s not the Member for Flynn.

REPORTER: [Inaudible] National interest test for LNG. We’ve had a big boom here as a result of that. What’s

the impact you’d think on future development?

BOWEN: Look, I think this gets the balance right. Now I’m a big supporter of the LNG industry. I’ve said that

repeatedly. I’ve been to Gladstone in the past. I’ve been to see the Inpex development in Darwin for

example. So I see the benefit. But also we need to make sure that we have the resources sector, the LNG

sector working together with the manufacturing sector and the Government to ensure that future

developments are in the national interest. Now that means ensuring that our export market is strong and

properly serviced and also that manufacturing has a chance to be in the conversation about making sure they

have access to gas as well.

Now there’s plenty of gas, I think, into the future which can service both of those needs. This is similar to the

test in the United States. If you like, less heavy handed than the test in Canada. Canada - which is a very

successful LNG exporter. You can’t export any gas unless it’s designated and declares being excess to

requirements in Canada. That’s not the approach we’re proposing here. We’re proposing a lighter touch

approach, an appropriate approach, a responsible approach. We have a foreign investments test - a national

interest test on foreign investment.

So Scott Morrison says he has the power to determine whether somebody buys a farm but he doesn’t appear

interested in having the power to determine that future - and I stress future, it’s not retrospective - export

facilities for LNG are in the national interest.