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Transcript of doorstop: Perth: 11 April 2018: labor's investment in WA infrastructure and jobs; extension of Mitchell freeway, labor's fair share for Western Australia fund; GST; electoral redistribution; Syria; Turnbull's energy failure



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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP PERTH WEDNESDAY, 11 APRIL 2018

SUBJECT/S: Labor’s investment in WA infrastructure and jobs; Extension of Mitchell Freeway, Labor’s Fair Share for Western Australia Fund; GST; Electoral redistribution; Syria; Turnbull’s energy failure.

KIM TRAVERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PEARCE: Good morning to everyone today, and my name is Kim Travers. I am the candidate for Pearce, and you are certainly in the Pearce electorate here today. I'd like to welcome the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten here today who has come to talk to us about a significant project. I'd also like to welcome Rita Saffioti, the Minister for Transport and Planning here today. We have Attorney General John Quigley, Member for Butler. We have Sabine Winton, Member for Wanneroo and in fact we have our Mayor from Wanneroo here with us today to join in with this important announcement. So without further ado I'll hand over to Bill. Thank you very much.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everybody it's great to be here. This is day five of my visit to Western Australia, and every day I've been announcing how Federal Labor would work with the people of Western Australia and the McGowan Government to improve the economic and social opportunities in Western Australia.

Today is a really good announcement. The extension, the next stage extension of the Mitchell Freeway from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road, 5.6kms of road, two lanes each way. Federal Labor if elected will provide over $100 million extra to support the extension of the Mitchell Freeway which will create a vast improvement in the liveability of the communities, the fastest growing community corridor in Western Australia, if not indeed many parts of Australia.

This is a good announcement. It is estimated that the $108 million, in conjunction with what the state would spend, will generate 875 direct and indirect jobs. As John Quigley was saying, what it will do also - it will improve the value of people's houses. It'll improve the travel time which can currently be up to an hour each way.

So this is a good announcement and what it does is it shows Labor's ongoing commitment to Western Australia. Kim Travers has been lobbying very strongly, she said that this is one of the most important policies that Federal Labor could announce, in regards to her priorities for her campaign in Pearce and its ongoing commitment by Federal Labor to ensure that Western Australia gets its fair share.

We've got a fair share fund. We recognise that Western Australia hasn't been getting a square deal in recent years from Commonwealth resources. So this is Labor's legislative commitment, our stand-alone commitment to improve the amenity, to improve the productivity, to improve the job opportunities in Western Australia.

I'd like to hand over to Rita Saffioti, the Transport Minister then we'll hear from the Mayor for Wanneroo, Tracy Roberts.

RITA SAFFIOTI, TRANSPORT MINISTER: Thank you very much Bill, it's a great pleasure to be here to talk about another infrastructure priority for the state.

As we know WA doesn't get its fair share of GST. The "Bill Shorten" fund, the GST Fair Share fund, really makes sure that a Federal Labor Government would work with the State Labor Government to deliver infrastructure priorities around the state.

We know that this is a fast growing area and the infrastructure demands in this area are significant and continue to grow. Wanneroo and this entire area continues to be the home of many new families and many families in WA. The extension of this freeway will make life easier for families and in particular reduce travel times.

This project together with the extension of the rail line north, and of course our other infrastructure commitments through the area, the work on Wanneroo Road, the Marmion Avenue duplication, are all about ensuring that we invest infrastructure in key areas of growth making life easier for families and really making sure infrastructure in the suburbs is a priority for a WA Labor Government.

TRACEY ROBERTS, MAYOR OF WANNEROO: Thank you and this is indeed a very welcome announcement for the community of the City of Wanneroo. We have been advocating very, very strongly for the extension of the freeway to Romeo Road.

This will unlock the economic potential for the region. This will provide opportunities for local jobs. Investors will move into the area because they have the infrastructure to support them.

We have an area here which is set to grow by 270 per cent over the coming years. So not only is it about local community members being able to travel around the area smoothly and with ease, It will also enable much needed local jobs for our local community.

So very welcome announcement by the Federal and also the state. So thank you very, very much.

SHORTEN: Thanks Tracey. So are there any questions about this announcement? Then I'm happy to deal with any other matters.

JOURNALIST: The election is 12 to 18 months away but $1.6 billion Fair Go For WA Fund you've almost spent three quarters of it, what will you talk about after it's all gone?

SHORTEN: I don't know if the election is 18 months away, hopefully it'll be a bit sooner than that. You can't tell with the government these days can you? They are a bit of a mess. But leaving aside whenever Mr Turnbull and this Government sort of reaches their natural conclusion and puts their performance to the view of the people, let me just state this about Labor's commitment to infrastructure.

This is not the only money which we want to see spent in Western Australia to generate great infrastructure. You're quite right. Labor has created a $1.6 billion Fair Share for West Australia Fund. We will legislate it, it's stand-alone. But our commitment to Western Australia won't just stop at what we're promising to do with this money. And this money by the way, is taxpayer money, and we are doing every announcement in consultation with the priorities of the West Australian people and the West Australian Government. But the good news is between now and whenever Mr Turnbull faces the people, we've got a lot of other very positive policies to announce to Western Australia.

I won't take too long but I'll go through a couple of them. We want to unfreeze Medicare so West Australians are not paying, as they are currently, greater and greater out-of-pocket expenses to see the doctor. We're going to make sure that every West Australian school is a great school. The Catholic Parish schools, and of course the Government schools, we want to see greater resources go there. We are going to promise to help tackle the waiting lists for West Australians, older West Australians waiting for aged care packages.

So believe me, Labor intends to fight the next election, not on the mistakes of this current divided government, but on our positive vision for Western Australia.

So it's not just the infrastructure. The Morley-Ellenbrook railway line extension, the Midland-Bellevue extension. It's not just what we're going to do with Joondalup Hospital and provide much greater support for people living with mental health, and it's not just indeed the road extension, Stevenson’s Avenue and Sterling that we announced, or indeed what we've announced today with the Mitchell Freeway extension from Hester avenue to Romeo Road.

Labor is the only national party running in this election with policies to create jobs in Western Australia, to make sure Western Australia gets its fair share, and to make sure that we put middle and working class people first.

And for the record, the reason why we can pay for our promises, the reason why we can put forward these positive propositions, is we're not going to give $65 billion away in tax giveaways to large multinationals and big banks.

JOURNALIST: Here in Stirling yesterday and obviously Pearce today, and you've already made a couple pledges relating to Pearce previously, Ellenbrook as you just said - so I mean are they two seats, with sitting Ministers, are they seats that you are confident of picking up are they at the next federal election?

SHORTEN: For me what matters is the quality of our promises to Western Australians. Australians and Western Australians I'm sure, are over the sort of the fortnightly fascination with opinion polls. Frankly, I think Aussies are sick of politicians talking about themselves. That's why I've spent six days, not fly in, fly out, one day in, same day leave.

I'm spending time here in the West and I was in Kalgoorlie yesterday, the regions as well. What people want from their politicians is policies which talk about the future. So it's not just our promises in Pearce, it's not just our promises in Stirling - it's what we're going to do right across Perth and the regions. Have a look at some of the other promises which we're going to make which will affect the south of Perth as well, and which will go for the regions. So we're not focused on a particular seat, we're focused on West Australians - not the politics, the policy.

JOURNALIST: Instead of legislating for a top-up fund, for what you're calling a de facto 70 cent GST floor. Why not just legislate a 70 cent GST floor so you have got an actual GST floor instead of a de facto one?

SHORTEN: If I'm Prime Minister, we'll make sure that Western Australia gets its fair share. And at the end of the day, you can call something what you want - what matters is the outcome. Now, both sides of politics have said West Australia hasn't been getting their fair share but unfortunately the Liberals have stalled there. They've choked there and done nothing about it -

JOURNALIST: They have introduced the same top-up payments that you're promising?

SHORTEN: Have they? I mean the reality is are they going to go to a 70 cents floor in this budget? I hope they do and if they do, we will support them.

The fact of the matter is there's only one deal on offer for West Australians today. It's the Labor deal. I get that we have to wait for the Productivity Commission and see if

they do propose changes and we maintain an open mind on that. But I want to end the hunger games. Wherever I travel in Australia; Northern New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, Kalgoorlie - What we want to see is that all Australians getting a fair share of the resources rather than it going to large corporations and the big banks in the form of corporate tax cuts.

The reason why I can make sure Western Australia gets its fair share? One, because I recognise it's fair dinkum problem, and two, because I'm not wasting a whole lot of taxpayer money on the top end of town through a tax giveaway which will be remitted to foreign shareholders.

JOURNALIST: Josh Frydenberg today, is calling extreme ideologies in the Liberal Party to make way, saying blaming them for increasing house prices. Does the energy debate need to shift more to the centre again?

SHORTEN: Well it's another day and it's another chapter in the Liberal Party civil war. They're so divided.

I mean we've said that we'll work with the Government to make sure that we put downward pressure on energy prices. The way you do that is you have clear policies which put incentive on the table to invest in renewable energy. The problem is this government fundamentally can't deliver lower prices. The problem with this government is that they're so hostage to the internal civil war, debates about spending billions of dollars on old coal fired power stations - they can't ever get on with the real issues which affect people.

The real problem in Australia with energy prices is there's no national policy. There will not be national policy while the Liberal Party is at war with itself.

JOURNALIST: Do you accept that coal fired power stations still have a role to play in Australia's energy policy?

SHORTEN: Yes I do. But what I also believe is that we've got to move to 50 per cent renewables. Telling Australians that we can stay as we are and not change, that's not leadership, that's gutless, that's policy cowardice.

The reality is renewable energy is getting cheaper every day and that needs to be part of our energy mix. But we're still going to need coal in our energy system, as we're going to need gas. For me it's not about playing ideology, it's about putting lower pressure, downward pressure on energy prices, it's about taking real action on climate change and it's about ensuring continuous and reliable energy when Australians and Australian business needs it.

JOURNALIST: Just one out of Canberra, will you contest the seat of Maribyrnong at the next election?

SHORTEN: I guarantee I'll be running for Parliament at the next election. In terms of what's happened in Victoria, the Electoral Commission every couple of election cycles does what they call a redistribution - they make sure there's enough people in each seat.

They have in their wisdom cut my seat in half. So that's draft maps, let's see if we can't work this issue through but I will certainly be running at the next election. I'll certainly be running in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne and I look forward to some discussions and submissions to the Electoral Commission.

JOURNALIST: But not necessarily Maribyrnong?

SHORTEN: Just as I've become versed in the geography of Perth - and I'm very aware of the importance of the need to extend the Mitchell Freeway - the north-western suburbs of Melbourne have grown very rapidly and they've cut the current seat I represent, in half. So half my voters are in one seat and half are in the other.

I'll wait and see what the final maps look like and we will sort that out.

JOURNALIST: Would Labor support U.S. airstrikes against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons?

SHORTEN: I think that's pretty premature. I certainly don't have the facts. I would expect the Government to give us a briefing before there was any final decision on that.

JOURNALIST: I know that you had heard of the story in the paper this morning here in Perth, on the paedophile, David Lindner. Do federal authorities have any questions to answer about how he was able to come back from Canada a convicted criminal and perhaps, not been monitored as he should have been?

SHORTEN: Yes, the West Australian paper has revealed a shocking story of abuse by someone who was deported to Australia a few years ago. I'm like every parent, I'm a parent of teenagers and I have got an eight year old. I think it is every parent's nightmare that somehow they can't protect their kids from these predators. This is not a political issue. I do expect that if people are deported to this country and they've got that sort of background that there would have been checks and balances. I'll certainly to be pursuing the matter but I'm not blaming anyone. I think it's devastating and I just want to make sure that - I don't know how you can help the parents through this. It's just terrible. We've got to make sure that if there's any lessons here, it should never be allowed to happen and should never happen again.

JOURNALIST: Another one out of Canberra, Peter Dutton has confirmed today that changes to migration were considered. Did Turnbull mislead voters when he said that didn't happen?

SHORTEN: It's a pretty moving feast in the Government at the moment. You get the Prime Minister up saying one thing happened, you've got one of the leadership aspirants up saying something else happened. I just don't want the Government treating immigration as a political football.

What Australians want from their government is to focus on their needs. I don't know what's going on in the Government, your guess is as good as mine. It seems to me that immigration is becoming a political football where every wannabe-Prime-Minister of the Liberal Party is sort of taking slightly different views. None of them seem to be helping Mr Turnbull in my opinion.

But let's get back to what really matters- people are over the Liberal circus. You would have thought that they would have had a wake up call this week but it seems more of the same. What the Government should do is what we're doing with Kim Travers here, our candidate in Pearce. What the people of Western Australia want is they would probably want to see the Mitchell Freeway extended from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road. They don't really care who said what in Canberra.

I wish the Government would just get out in the real world. Let's focus on making sure you can afford to see the doctor. Let's make sure the kids have got properly funded schools. Let's make sure that people are not stuck in traffic jams for an hour each way in fast growing suburban corridors such as the northwest part of Perth.

JOURNALIST: Will Labor also work to keep coal fired power stations open longer if elected to meet an energy shortfall?

SHORTEN: We're not going to waste money to keep Malcolm Turnbull in his job to hold off the right wing of the Liberal Party - that's his problem.

The fact of the matter is that the sooner we put in place the policy markers which ensure new investment in energy including in renewables, the quicker we can get to lower energy prices. This government is spending a lot of time worrying about Tony Abbott on a bicycle near a closed coal fired power station and not enough about lower energy prices for the people.

We're about looking after the people not worrying about political games in this very divided Liberal Party.

Thank you, everybody.

ENDS

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Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra