South Australian Federal Campaign Rally Speech, Adelaide, South Australia


Thank you so much! Thank you so much for such a warm South Australian welcome. That's fantastic. That is fantastic.

You know, we live in a time of remarkable opportunity, a time of economic change, unprecedented in its scale and pace. With a clear vision, with a clear plan, we can set our course to succeed in this century as we never have before.

My Coalition team's plan for a strong, new economy will ensure that Australians can look to the future with confidence and with optimism.

The successful management of our transitioning economy is the foremost policy challenge for Australia today.

Only we in the Coalition have a plan for jobs and growth, only us and today I will set out how this plan is delivering for South Australia and for the nation.

Much more needs to be done and only the re-election of our strong and stable Coalition majority Government can see it through.

Innovation, small business and medium business tax incentives, defence industry investment, new export markets - these are all the elements of our economic plan.

And today, I'm outlining for you, the people of South Australia, how this plan puts you in the front line delivering the jobs and industries that will secure our nation's future.

South Australia already has enormous competitive advantages, including world-class universities, a substantial industry base with a great capacity to innovate, an abundance of mineral and energy resources, rich agricultural lands and some of the finest food and wine in the world, a capital city bursting with vibrancy and relative to many other Australian cities, more affordable housing.

As the information age revolutionises the way we work and live and do business, South Australia is perfectly positioned to become a hub of the ideas boom.

A smart state, productive, technologically advanced and up to the challenge of competing with the world's best.

Over the years, however, I've often heard South Australians' concern that their children feel they need to look elsewhere to study, start and build a career and once they leave, they won't come back.

Now, this attitude is in nobody's interests.

We have great plans for South Australia and we need, you need, as much of your talent to stay here and more talent to come to join you. The defence program alone will require thousands of highly skilled workers as this city becomes a global centre of cutting edge advanced manufacturing. Our plan will give talented young South Australians a practical incentive to live, study, work, raise a family here in their home state.

So, today I can announce that my Government will commit $24 million towards 1,200 new South Australian enterprise scholarships that will encourage undergraduates, postgraduates and vocational education students to undertake their studies here in South Australia.

We will partner with South Australian employers to link these scholarships to real jobs. We'll seek industry commitments to provide scholarship holders with a matching internship in their field of study and the scholarships will be valued at up to $20,000 each.

This commitment is part of our plan to link learning to real-world jobs and better link research undertaken through these scholarships with commercial opportunities. This will help secure South Australia's role in the vanguard of our innovation future and it will encourage more young South Australians to stay and be part of building an exciting future for this state.

The jobs of the future are not somewhere else. They are right here in South Australia.

Now, the historic investment by my Government in Australia's defence industries is central to ensuring our economic and national security for generations to come.

Most of the build of the Air Warfare Destroyers will be completed in 2018. In that same year, the Offshore Patrol Vessels will already be under construction at Osborne. This work will transition into the build of the nine Future Frigates in 2020 and then, around 2022, we will start construction of the first of the 12 submarines, the single biggest military investment in our nation's history. This project will drive jobs, growth and innovation in South Australia for 50 years.

In all, the shipbuilding program will create 3,100 direct jobs in Adelaide and thousands more in the supply chain here and across Australia. The impact will be decades long, economy wide, nationwide and it begins right here, right now.

We have a shipyard that does not yet have the capacity to do the construction work we need. Infrastructure upgrades are needed before that work can start.

So, we need to expand the wharf at Osborne. Currently it's not capable of having more than one ship alongside. We need builders, architects, engineers on the job straightaway. We need to expand the ship-lift capacity to accommodate larger vessels and more hard stands and crane capacity if we are going to achieve the continuous build we need. This requires, again, builders, engineers, metal workers, technical experts, to design and install it. We need more warehouse and storage facilities at the shipyard, new work for builders, architects, electricians, glaziers and many more.

If re-elected, my Government will be full steam ahead from July 2 to ensure this critical infrastructure work is under way immediately.

And looking ahead to the shipbuilds themselves, we will need skilled trades to support structural, paint, pipe, mechanical and electrical work in production, as well as skilled project and supply chain managers and engineers. These skills must be available when we start building ships in two years' time, so this is going to need workers to begin apprenticeships, to begin their transition training.

Beyond that, there are the supply chains and the support industries, whether it be the concrete we need to expand the wharf or the Australian steel we need to build the new warehouses or the fencing we need for an expanding shipyard or the lighting and services we need for the warehouses.

The only risk to these jobs starting immediately this year is Labor. Labor failed to commission a single naval ship from an Australian yard in six years of government. Labor cut more than $18 billion from defence funding and delayed more than 100 projects. Risking critical gaps in capability, Labor's neglect plunged naval shipbuilding in South Australia into the notorious valley of death. South Australians should think very carefully about whether we can afford more Labor delays and cancellations.

Our plan, the Coalition's naval shipbuilding program, part of our national economic plan for jobs and growth, sets the course fundamentally to transform our defence industries and sustain them for decades. And the new $230 million Centre for Defence Industry Capability based here in Adelaide will help small to medium enterprises identify the opportunities to join the supply chains required to deliver these shipbuilding projects.

One local example among many is PMB Defence, an Australian-owned company that has about 60 employees at Osborne shipyards which has worked on the main storage battery for the Collins Class submarine. In the last 12 months alone, PMB Defence have created 10 new jobs to work on battery technology and an innovative stealth mast for the submarines.

Then there's Levett Engineering, an advanced manufacturing, small, medium business located north of Adelaide and part of the global supply chain for the Joint Strike Fighter F-32 program. Levett’s technology is now in demand globally and the company expects to grow its workforce by 50% over the next three years.

Jobs, growth, advanced manufacturing. Where? Here in Adelaide in South Australia.

Under our defence industry plan, we will seek to spend every dollar we can in Australia, to deliver a strong state-of-the-art defence industry, ensure our Defence Forces have the capabilities they need to keep Australians safe and our borders secure. South Australia is at the forefront of this great national endeavour and it will set this state up for decades at the cutting edge of innovation and advanced manufacturing.

Now, on the subject of Australian steel, out of which our future Navy will be built, let me make some observations about Arrium. I keenly understand the concerns of the people of Whyalla, the anxiety of the people of Whyalla about the prospects for their jobs and their community. We believe steelmaking in Whyalla has a strong future. There is considerable demand in Australia for the structural steel Whyalla produces and in large part fuelled by my Government's own infrastructure agenda. We look forward to the administrators ending the uncertainty by concluding a sale of the business to new long-term owners with the capacity and commitment to invest in the business's future. And in support of Whyalla and working with the Australian Rail Track Corporation, we've brought forward the purchase of 72,000 tonnes of steel for the Adelaide-Tarcoola rail line, originally slated for the early 2020s and we've brought it forward to this year. The Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne, has applied duties of up to 53 per cent on dumped steel from Asia and of course the steel industry has benefitted, by the abolition of the carbon tax and exemption from the Renewable Energy Target. Whyalla has a great future. It needs new owners with a commitment and capacity to invest in that future.

Now, our innovation and science plan will bring more great Australian ideas to market. We're offering incentives to startup companies in the industries which are on the frontier of innovation and technology. Our plan will prepare our children for the jobs of the future with a greater focus on science, technology, engineering and maths and skills in digital literacy like coding. Christopher Pyne and Simon Birmingham are working together to ensure that our kids have the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century - the digital literacy that will be so important for their future.

Now, South Australia has a great tradition of scientific leadership. Douglas Mawson, Nobel Laureates William and Lawrence Bragg, Robin Warren through to the NASA astronaut Andy Thomas.

This state's reputation as a centre for excellence and education is also measured by the doubling of international student numbers over the last decade and continuing strong growth.

By 2019, if that trajectory continues, the education sector will have injected an additional half a billion dollars into the South Australian economy.

South Australia’s exports of great ideas to the world are already booming, at $117 million in earnings last year from research and development - seven times the level a decade ago.

Only last month, I visited the offshore surveying company Fugro LADS, which is charting a future for South Australia beyond traditional manufacturing. Their technology allows complex navigation surveys right across our region for the Royal Australian Navy and it's exporting this Australian technology, mapping the seabed now in the Arabian Gulf and in islands of the Pacific.

South Australia is a leader in clean energy generation, also benefits from our programs which support renewable including of course the RET.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is supporting a number of projects in South Australia including in principle agreement to co-finance the highly innovative Sundrop Farms greenhouse development near Port Augusta which will use solar thermal technology to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool the greenhouses.

And from 1 July our Clean Energy Innovation Fund will be available for more innovative projects a good example of which, another proposed solar thermal project in Port Augusta, is highlighted in today's Advertiser.

Now, our GDP, our economy grew 3.1 per cent in the year to March, faster than any of the G7 economies and well above the OECD average.

That doesn’t happen by accident. You need a clear plan. You need strong economic leadership. You need a pro-growth, pro-business agenda that drives investment and jobs.

In the last calendar year, 300,000 new jobs were created and two thirds of these were women. 450,000 jobs have been created since the last election.

But we can and must do more.

We are strongly positioned to gain from growth in the large, dynamic economies of Asia.

Our export trade deals with China, Korea and Japan are giving farmers a competitive edge and opening doors for our service industries into those expanding markets of Asia.

In the last quarter, we have recorded a 4.4 per cent lift in exports and 6 per cent over the year.

Services exports grew by 14 per cent over the year - the fastest growth since the year 2000.

South Australia is also performing strongly. Total exports were up by 11 per cent over the last year.

By 2019, when almost half of the world’s middle class will be living in countries to our north in Asia, South Australia will be taking full advantage of our trade deals and exporting a further 50 million litres of wine.

Warren Randall at Seppeltsfield says the tariff reductions under the China Australia Free Trade Agreement are the single most important development in wine marketing for the 39 years he has been in the business.

Australians and South Australians should never forget the Labor Party opposed the China Australia Free Trade Agreement and the unions waged a bitter and inflammatory advertising campaign against it and it wasn't until the very last minute that, finally, they rolled over in the Parliament and supported the legislation to enable the free trade agreement to be implemented. So Labor's track record, apart from doing nothing on this for six years, is one of opposition to the free trade opportunities that are driving the growth and the jobs across Australia and across this state as well.

By 2019, under our export trade agreements, we estimate a further 100 South Australian small businesses will be exporting, building on the 800 small South Australian companies already competing successfully on global markets.

We have here in South Australia great ambassadors for exports and technology. One of my favourite examples is Philmac. Philmac is an 85-year-old pluming components manufacturing company. It's a traditional business. People have been making pipes and gate valves for a very, very long time. It now exports to 30 countries. It has secured a global lead, this 85-year-old South Australian company, a global lead with its innovative fittings to connect imperial and metric gauge pipe networks for water, gas and other fluids. It is the world leader in its field and it's done it and it is growing and it's doing it here in South Australia, taking advantage of the support we give for R&D and innovation and it's doing this and it's growing jobs and it is taking on the world and winning and it's doing it right here in South Australia.

By 2019, under our economic plan, the South Australian economy will be an estimated $7.3 billion bigger than it is today. And that growth will be driven in large part by the enterprise and the industry, the innovation and the passion, of small and medium family-owned businesses right here in South Australia, their energy and their commitment. It is not just vital to jobs and growth. It is at the very heart of everything we seek to achieve. Their enterprise is building and securing our economic future and that is why our plan for a strong new economy backs small and medium Australian businesses.

By 2019, almost 42,000 small to medium enterprises in South Australia, businesses with turnover of less than $50 million, will be benefiting from our enterprise tax cuts.

They employ, collectively, around 280,000 South Australians.

Our plan provides incentive for them to grow, invest and generate more jobs.

Businesses like Precise Manufacturing and Machining in Matt William’s electorate of Hindmarsh. This high-tech specialised manufacturer has been through tough times in the automotive industry but today they are on the up, employing more people and seizing new opportunities with new products and new customers.

Across Australia, there are 100,000 businesses on a similar scale to Precise, employing a total of 2.2 million Australians. In South Australia, these companies employ 63,000 people.

The tax cuts we will deliver from 1 July will help every one of those employees, encouraging more investment in businesses, more jobs, higher retained earnings, higher real wages.

Just a few years back, as we’ve seen recently, Bill Shorten said tax cuts for business were a good thing for the economy, for jobs, for growth, for productivity and for higher wages.

Today, for purely political reasons and in open denial of basic economic principles, he says precisely the opposite.

The fact is, if today’s version of Bill Shorten says tax cuts for small to medium business won’t help the economy, today’s version of Bill Shorten doesn’t understand the economy.

As one writer observed this week: “Shortenomics is very short on economics.”

In the next term of the Parliament, the only firms that will get tax cuts under our plan, it’s a long-range plan that will see all Australian companies after 11 years paying tax at 25% but in the next term of the Parliament, the only firms that will receive that tax cut, are small to medium businesses with turnovers of less than $50 million a year.

These are not big banks. Very few have foreign shareholders. They’re not corporate leviathans.

Overwhelmingly, they are Australian-owned family businesses.

We are backing them in. As we are backing in young Australians who want a job.

Small business is crucial to our $750 million PaTH package to give 120,000 young unemployed Australians the opportunity to get into a job and get experience of work.

Only this week, the Motor Trades Association of Australia, representing more than 60,000 automotive businesses nationwide, and Choices Flooring, a national flooring retailer, have signalled their intention to partner with us in this plan.

They will look to provide internships to 4000 job seekers under the age of 25.

By 2019, we anticipate there will be at least 10,000 young South Australians helped into work through our PaTH program.

Jobs and growth, tackling long term unemployment, focusing on the growth and opportunities for our young people right across the board - that’s our commitment, that’s our economic plan.

Only a strong economy can generate the investment that will deliver more, better-paying jobs for Australians today and into the future.

Only a strong economy can raise the revenues we need to support the services Australians want and expect.

Only a sustainable budget, built on strong economic growth, can provide guaranteed funding for health, education infrastructure and roads.

Only a sustainable budget can deliver the smart transport infrastructure of the 21st century, like our $43 million investment in the Flinders Link. Flinders Link is not just a transport project; it will as you know link Tonsley Innovation Park and the Flinders Medical and University precinct, generating almost 2000 new jobs and over $800 million in additional investment.

Our Labor opponents have nothing to say about generating investment and enterprise. They have nothing to say about securing prosperity today, or creating the industries and jobs of the future.

They are interested only in taxing the life out of the economy.

Billion Dollar Bill is running his spend-o-meter on steroids, making spending promises he can’t pay for and will never deliver.

Labor has no credible plan for dealing with the economic challenges of this century. They have not even turned their minds to it. Their only plan is to impose $100 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years.

These include increasing personal income tax, increasing capital gains tax by half, increasing energy taxes and banning the ability of ordinary Australians to offset investment losses against their income.

Every element of our plan promotes economic growth and more jobs.

Every element of Labor’s platform, in a race to the bottom with the Greens, discourages investment, stifle employment and will inevitably send our economy into reverse.

The fact is, if you want more of something, lower the tax on it. We want more investment, so we're lowering progressively business taxes.

Labor is increasing taxes on investment. What will that do? That can have only one impact, which is to have less investment and if you have less investment, then you must have less jobs.

Let’s be frank. Labor has declared war on business and the first casualties are Australian jobs.

As pre-poll voting opens in ten days, it is important that all Australians think very carefully about the choice they are to make.

A vote for anyone other than my Coalition team is a vote for chaos. It is a vote for returning to the Gillard days, the Green-Labor-Independent alliance.

Every single vote for Nick Xenophon, the Independents or Greens or Labor brings us closer to Bill Shorten and the Greens running Australia.

So now is not the time for a protest vote or a wasted vote; it is time to use your vote carefully, to prevent the chaos of a hung parliament – a hung parliament that would bring government and our economic transition to a grinding halt, costing your jobs and your future.

If we want a better future, for ourselves and our families - and we do - then we cannot risk yet another change of government, yet another Labor Prime Minister and the chaos of yet another minority government.

With your vote we can see the job we’ve started through, stick to the economic plan for jobs and growth – and together in these times of great opportunity and great challenge, in this the 21st century, we can together, with a clear plan, a national economic plan and a strong, stable Coalition Government, we can together secure South Australia and our nation's future for decades to come.

Thank you very much.