Press conference, North Lakes, Queensland

 

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s wonderful to be here with Luke Howarth here in North Lakes. Luke is doing a fantastic job as the Member for Petrie. His re-election is of vital importance to the Government and the future of our nation because Luke is committed to our national economic plan, our national economic plan for jobs and growth.

We have been talking about jobs here this morning and recognising the fantastic work that HELP is doing here bringing young people into employment. The great work that employers like the Good Guys are doing, taking on young people referred to them by HELP and getting them to develop those employment skills and that ability to achieve the employability that enables them to go on and achieve greater things in their life, more work opportunities, better jobs in the years to come.

We recognise that this issue of youth employment, youth unemployment, is a very challenging one; very complex. So in our national economic plan, as set out in the Budget, we have a new program called PaTH - prepare, trial and hire. We have been discussing that with the team here and they are as excited about it as we are. So what that’s going to do is it will enable job-active workers, job-active organisations like HELP to give young people the skills, a bit of hand-holding as some of you were saying, a little bit of confidence, little bit of training and then find them internships so that they get that experience of work, that experience of getting to work, working with others, building up their confidence that enables them to go on and realise their dreams.

It is great to be here in Brisbane and this morning as you know, some of you were there, we were at the markets and we were there talking about other aspects of our national economic plan for growth and jobs.

We are talking about business, small businesses. Most of those businesses there are businesses, family-owned businesses, many of them, I would say most of them, would be benefitting immediately from our enterprise tax cut - if not in the first year then certainly in the second year. These are businesses that are founded on the hard work and the enterprise of business men and women, small business men and women. We are backing them.

There in that big hall in the markets are many businesses who Bill Shorten does not want to support - does not want to support for a tax cut - does not want to support in the way we are doing.

Of course we discussed another aspect of our national economic plan there which is opening up these big markets in Asia. Export trade deals particularly in China are really energising the export market for fruit and vegetables, soft commodities and services and many other things too but right here in Queensland, we were talking to merchants there who were sending melons and every other form of fruit and vegetable up north into Asia, taking advantage of those great deals. Supporting jobs and growth right across the country. That's our commitment. We are excited by it. We can see the enthusiasm for the growth that that will bring and the wonderful opportunities that that will bring for all Australians including the young people here today with us.

It is wonderful to be here, Luke, with you in North Lakes and congratulations for the great work you are doing as the Federal Member.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, today's Newspoll shows fewer than one in five voters feel better off as a result of the Budget. Do you accept you’ve still got a job ahead of you to convince voters that your plan is good for them?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have an election on the 2nd of July - we have got eight weeks. We will be talking about our national economic plan every single day. Jobs and growth. Confidence. Australia - its future. That's what this election is about.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Treasury modelling released as part of the Budget last week used to justify the company tax cuts assumes there are just six taxes including a flat rate of personal income tax and in a position of a hypothetical broad based land tax. It also says the gains from a company tax cut can take 10-30 years to flow to work its way through the economy. How realistic is it with respect that your national economic plan will deliver jobs and growth immediately when so much of it is based on an unrealistic scenario and pushed off to the never-never?

PRIME MINISTER:

Cutting company tax, cutting business tax and of course we are cutting taxes for unincorporated businesses as well, always drives investment and employment because you increase the return on investment.

If you want to have more of something, lower the tax on it. If you want to have less of something, increase the tax.

Bill Shorten wants to have less investment in Australia, can you believe that? He wants Australians to invest less and if they invest less, they'll employ less. That's why he is putting up the tax on capital gains. That's why he is seeking to ban negative gearing, standing in the road of entrepreneurship, standing in the road of entrepreneurship and enterprise that has enabled many of the small businesses to get started that will offer jobs to these young people now and in the years ahead.

Let me say to you that it is very clear that as you reduce business taxes, you will get more investment and more employment and the Treasury estimated last year, our Treasury, Australian Treasury estimated last year that for every dollar of company tax cut there was $4 of additional value created in the overall economy.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Labor is painting itself as the underdog. Is this your election to lose?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm focused on our national economic plan, on the future of these young people and thousands of others like them. I'm focused on the future of those businesses we saw today at the markets. Those businesses which deserve the backing of their government because I tell you, it is their enterprise, their confidence that is going to determine our future. It is their confidence that will enable them to invest and employ and therein lies the recipe for our economic plan of jobs and growth.

JOURNALIST:

The poll today shows that women, those earning under $100,000 and those aged between 35 and 49 particularly feel that this budget doesn't do anything for them. What do you say to them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Our national economic plan delivers jobs and growth right across the board for all Australians. Our national economic plan is already working.

MEMBER FOR PETRIE:

It’s working here. Working right here now.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, it’s working right here in Petrie. And can I tell you, we have seen the strongest growth over the last six months in employment for women. We have got the highest participation rate for women now in the workforce in Australia in our history. So we are seeing very strong growth and that is 26,000 jobs in March alone, you know, over 300,000 jobs last year. The confidence that we are building, the economic leadership we are providing, that is driving confidence, its driving enterprise. And the biggest threat to that is the Labor Party, every policy of which is absolutely calculated to stunt investment and deter employment and stop our growth dead in its tracks.

JOURNALIST:

Tony Abbott says this morning he is happy to help out in any way you'd like him to in this campaign. What is it you'd like him to do?

PRIME MINISTER:

He is committed to our national economic plan and he is backing it as all our Members are, and we look forward to every Member and every candidate on our team backing our national economic plan because they know that's the way for more jobs and more growth.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, yesterday you gave quite a detailed pitch for re-election or your first election, I suppose. You didn't once mention climate change. Was that deliberate?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it was intended to be a 10-minute address, went a little bit longer as politicians often do. But let me say to you, climate change is very important. And we have a good climate change policy. We are meeting our targets. We are meeting our 2020 targets. We will exceed them, in fact. And we are well on track to meet our 2030 targets.

Our plan is clear, it's part of a global agreement reached in Paris with all the nations of the world. It's costed.

What Bill Shorten is proposing is a set of measures which will dramatically increase the cost on all Australians. Some of his measures he does not know how much it will cost. His renewables target is extraordinarily high. And he has no costings on that at all. His emissions target is a unilateral near-doubling of the level agreed to in Paris. And can I say to you that what Mr Shorten has overlooked is not just the economic interests of Australians, but the global objective. Everything changed in Paris at the Paris Climate Change Conference. What happened there was remarkable. All of the nations in the world agreed to emissions targets for 2030. Each of them exerted some leverage on the other. So for a person who wants to be - an Opposition Leader who wants to be Prime Minister to say that Australia would unilaterally nearly double its target, abandons all leverage we would have.

The way these targets will rise in the future, and I believe they will, is by mutual agreement. So one nation will say, "We'll go up a bit more, if you go up a bit more". That is the way these agreements are put together.

For Australia to go out on its own and nearly double its target would achieve - would impose a huge cost on Australians and would abandon the leverage we have to get a stronger global response. He has failed to understand that we have moved from ideology in the climate change debate, to one of practical negotiation and outcomes. And what we achieved in Paris was a good practical outcome and I believe those targets will increase over time. But unless everybody increases together, it will be quite ineffective. So what he is proposing is bad for the Australian economy. It's bad for jobs and growth. And it achieves nothing in terms of the global climate change objective.

JOURNALIST:

Won't these internships mean fewer paid jobs for these young people?

MEMBER FOR PETRIE:

No.

PRIME MINISTER:

Absolutely not.

The folk from HELP here who understand this area are as excited as we are.

Let me say to you, the critical thing you need to do with young people who have not been in employment, and who perhaps for whatever reason - lack of confidence, lack of experience, lack of skills - are not getting into a job. What they need is a chance. What we are giving them is the best chance to get started.

And I have to say I agree with the Brotherhood of St Laurence who was pretty scathing about the critics of this PaTH scheme. It really is a very shameful thing that the Labor Party opposes it. If they cared about the employment of young Australians, if they wanted young Australians who are out of work to get into work and give them the chance to get into work, if they were really committed to more jobs and more growth, then they would back this scheme, they would back it right up to the hilt.

Thank you all very much.

E&OE…