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Transcript of TV Interview with Ann Sanders: Channel 7 news: Thursday, 26 February 2009: Pacific Brands.

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The Hon Julia Gillard MP

27 February, 2009


26 February 2009 - Transcript - TV Interview - Channel 7 News


ISSUES: Pacific Brands

ANN SANDERS: Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard joins me now from Canberra. Good morning to you, Ms Gillard.

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning.

ANN SANDERS: What can you do for the 1,850 Pacific Brand workers who now find themselves without a job?

JULIA GILLARD: The Government’s announced that we will be standing by these workers and offering them employment services to assist them in this difficult time and to maximise their opportunity to find a new job. And there will be special arrangements for them to help them finance training.

Now we know that yesterday was a very dreadful day for these workers and their families and today they would still be in shock and very upset. We also know that if we work with people through employment services and through additional training, we can help them look for new work in our economy.

We also know that the history of past downturns is that everybody sort of stops investing in skills and training, stops investing in our Australian people and then when the economy moves to growth, everybody’s crying out for skilled workers. We want to be investing in the skills and capacities of these workers now to help them through today and also to help the economy in the long term.

ANN SANDERS: Pacific Brands has been given a lot of government money over the years - $17 million in the last two years - where's their mutual obligation to Australia to ride out the rough times?

JULIA GILLARD: Well clearly Pacific Brands has taken a corporate decision about manufacturing, indeed the majority of its manufacturing worldwide. The Australian Government said to Pacific Brands through our Minister for Innovation and Industry, is there anything Australian Government can do working with you to change this decision, and the answer was no.

ANN SANDERS: The company’s executives seem to be safe from these job cuts. You’ve been talking tough on executive salaries but when are you going to do something about these ridiculous amounts?

JULIA GILLARD: Well the Australian Government certainly has been saying to corporate Australia that these are difficult times and that they need to understand that ordinary Australians look at executive salaries with dismay, particularly in circumstances where sometimes people seem to be rewarded because of share market transactions that actually result, you know, have been related to companies downsizing and other Australians losing their jobs. So that’s a very clear message from this Government. We believe that there should be more responsibility shown in relation to executive pay. We are actually involved in a process internationally about these standards and about how companies account for and show very clearly what executives are being paid and what disciplines there should be on executive pay.

ANN SANDERS: So is there a future for the textile industry in Australia?

JULIA GILLARD: The textile industry has been through a period of great change. This has been an industry in change for a number of years now and parts of the industry are here and they are here I hope for the long term. We know we’ve got some great fashion labels, some great designers, some great people in textile, clothing and footwear in this country. Pacific Brands is a very disappointing decision and very distressing for the workers and the individuals caught up in it. But we want to be working with the textile, clothing and footwear industry generally because we do want to see this industry stay in this country.

ANN SANDERS: Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, thank you very much for your time this morning.



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