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Transcript of interview with Laura Jayes: Sky News: 5 March 2018: USA export tariffs; Fair Share For WA Fund; Turnbull's corporate Tax Cuts

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SUBJECT/S: USA export tariffs; Fair Share For WA Fund; Turnbull’s corporate Tax Cuts.

LAURA JAYES: Joining me now live out of out of Western Australia is the Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister Tim Hammond. Now, Tim Hammond - this is a little outside of your remit in terms of your shadow portfolio area, but the State of Western Australia would be looking very closely at what is going on in the United States and what the reaction from our government is.

The Financial Review this morning has a story on their front page about one Perth company that will be really affected by these new tariffs from Donald Trump.

I imagine they’re not alone.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS TIM HAMMOND: That’s exactly right, good afternoon Laura. You’re absolutely correct in what you say in terms of here in Western Australia we will see the pointy end of this very quickly.

The numbers are not insignificant Australia-wide as it is. We know that $270 million worth of steel goes to the US, $70 million worth of aluminium and as you said, close to home down near Bunbury we’ve got a company called Simcoa which manufactures and exports an enormous amount of very high grade silicon.

Now, Simcoa employs almost 170 people and they are now staring down the barrel of a complete game changer in relation to tariff protections.

So, the concern we have and the reason why I think it is so important to offer a bipartisan position in relation to this is that real jobs get lost real quick if everything is not done that can be done in order to try and at least wind back or carve out some arrangement for Australian products and Australian jobs.

JAYES: For a company like BlueScope Steel, their situation could be quite good because their biggest steel mill is actually in Ohio and so if they get relief on the US end

and if they get product carve outs here in Australia; well it could be happy days for them.

So, it’s not all bad news is it?

HAMMOND: Well, that’s terrific for BlueScope but look, try having that conversation down at Wellesley, which is about 30km north of Bunbury, and I don’t reckon you’ll get the same response.

We’ve just got to do whatever we can to make sure we protect and support as many Australians in as many jobs as possible and that’s where the concern ls.

JAYES: Now, Tim Hammond, Bill Shorten is in the great State of Western Australia.

HAMMOND: He sure is.

JAYES: I’m sure you will be joining him a little later; he is due to hold a media conference later on this afternoon.

But what’s he doing in Western Australia, is he promising you West Australians a better carve out of the GST pie if he becomes Prime Minister?

HAMMOND: Well Laura, in case you’ve missed it, we say he already has.

One of the really good things about being part of such a dynamic Western Australian Federal Labor team, if I might say, is we’ve managed to achieve a policy landing in relation to our GST disparity in a circumstance where Colin Barnett - the former Liberal Premier - has said it is the best deal going on the table at the moment.

One of the things that Bill is here to announce today… (Interrupted by journalist)

JAYES: Just on the GST, what is on the table? Who loses so WA can gain?

HAMMOND: This is the thing Laura and I’ve always been of this view. We don’t need to necessarily engage in a fiscal hunger games in order to ensure that WA gets a fair share.

We have a Fair Share for WA fund protected by legislation which is topped up to $1.6 billion, the equivalent of a 70 cent floor. We get WA to double its amount of GST that it currently receives without any other state or territory being worse off.

In my view that is proactive work on behalf of us in Team WA but it also recognises the fact that we don’t we don’t have to go down a path making sure others are worse… (Interrupted by journalist)

JAYES: How do you do that so states don’t lose out but taxpayers do?

HAMMOND: No taxpayers don’t because again the reason why Laura is you’ve got a Labor party that is committed to, guess what? Not giving $65 billion worth of tax cuts to the top end of town.

What you see, even if you just take the big four banks alone, we see a carve out in terms of a tax relief of $7-8 billion. This Fair Share Fund which is $1.6 billion directly impacts jobs and impacts health over here.

Bill is over here to commit $154 million to a mental health facility at the Joondalup Health Campus which will give us 75 beds that weren’t there before because of the fact we can point to this protected fund and say here is our GST relief in WA.

JAYES: Right Ok, $1.6 billion, you figure you’ve got $65 billion to play with because you’re not going ahead with company tax cuts.

Have you asked some of your constituents and the good people of Western Australia, particularly some of those big businesses what they’d prefer? Whether they’d prefer this fund or a drop in company tax?

HAMMOND: If you’re flying over to Perth in the next few of hours come down to the Hyde Park fair, we had 50,000 through Hyde Park in my electorate yesterday and expecting about the same again today, it is all happening down there.

Do you know what they are really keen on? The community are keen on opportunity and opportunity in terms of jobs, wage growth, looking after health. We have not seen any meaningful evidence to put $7-8 billion in to the big four banks is going to have any impact in terms of creating anything by the way of a wage growth.

But what we will see about compensating WA; up to 70 cent equivalent floor are things like new hospital wings, are things like new roads and things like $700 million into METRONET which is actually going to transform Western Australia through the northern suburbs in relation to the way in which the train line will get people to and from work.

And I reckon that’s what people want to see.

JAYES: Ok Tim Hammond, Chris Bowen today has flagged that a Labor Government would perhaps look at the top end of town once again basically saying in his speech today that he doesn’t think the Liberal party has even touched the sides when it comes to looking at tax exemptions for the rich.

What do you have in mind? Is it more in the way of superannuation or is it something else?

HAMMOND: I haven’t seen Chris’ speech, so you’ll have to forgive me in relation to that and hopefully he will too.

But look, I think those sorts of comments really fit into the narrative that Labor has taken all the way through and that is we need to make sure that we restore the balance here in our community so that we don’t leave those who are vulnerable behind.

And that really underpins all of the reforms you’ve seen Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten and the whole Labor team roll out ever since the last election.

That is consistent with our view in relation to negative gearing reform; it’s consistent with our view in relation to capital gains tax reform and it is consistent with our view

about why it is that we take such strident steps to oppose a $65 billion tax cut for the top end of town.

It is just about restoring the balance and that is what our community needs.

JAYES: Ok Tim Hammond we’ll speak to you again as always. Thanks so much.

HAMMOND: Great to be with you, thanks Laura.