SUBJECTS: Labor’s investment in Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Tasmania Cradle Coast Campus; Importance of Braddon in the upcoming election; Scott Morrison’s refusal to put One Nation last on Liberal and National How To Votes; Australia’s strong gun laws; Renewable energy.
JUSTINE KEAY, MEMBER FOR BRADDON: Thank you very much everyone for coming today to the University West Park Campus, which is a really exciting development that's going to really revitalise the city of Burnie and the north west coast of Tasmania. I'm joined today with Tanya Plibersek, our Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Education, Senator Anne Urquhart and the Labor candidate for Montgomery, Michelle Rippon. I'd like to thanks Angela and Lee for having us here at this campus. This is a really exciting announcement where Labor will be committing $5 million to this project to ensure that we can develop and I guess implement some really important associate degrees and bachelor degrees in advance manufacturing, something that we do so well here on the north west coast. Manufacturing here is not about cookie cutter solutions, it's about those solutions that are bespoke that people in industry are looking for and here at this university campus, we can then skill and train and educate the next generation of those working in advance manufacturing here on the coast and creating really important linkages and pathways from school through TAFE to university, in collaboration with local industry. It's a very exciting feature that we have here on the north west coast and I'm very proud to be part of the Labor team that's going to commit the funding necessary to deliver this outcome. I'd like to hand over to Tanya to say more about the wonderful announcement.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Justine and it's great to be here with Justine, with Michelle and with Anne Urquhart. Look I'm very excited about this proposal from the University of Tasmania for a manufacturing hub here on the Burnie campus. A $5 million investment from federal Labor, should we be elected, will build this marvellous facility that you see displayed behind us. It will allow students to do bachelor degrees, sub-bachelor degrees right here in Burnie that will lead them on to further study or to working in the manufacturing industry here. The partnership between the university, the TAFE and local high schools also gives young people from the north coast and the north west coast the opportunity to think about the sort of jobs that they'll see in their region in years to come. The partnership between the university and local businesses not only gives young people the opportunity to train for the jobs that will be available in this community but also gives the opportunity of innovation, discovery, invention, where local solutions are created with local businesses that can then be sent out around the world. What we've seen on the north west coast and on the north coast is extraordinary innovation in the agriculture sector, for example, and construction and other sectors as well, and we want to make sure that the young people who are growing up in this area, or older workers who are retraining, can really be part of that success for the future. This is training young Australians for the jobs of the future right here in their local community and it gives them the opportunity of participating in global value chains, making sure that things that are invented and discovered here can be sold to the world.
I want to say a few words about Justine Keay because it's Justine that brought this opportunity to our attention. She has been a phenomenally strong advocate for investment in the University of Tasmania and more generally for investment in education. Here in Braddon what you'd see if Justine Keay is elected and Labor forms government, is universal access to preschool for three and four year olds; substantial extra investment in our schools, about $12.5 million in the first three years of a Labor government if we are elected. You’d see upgrades to TAFE and TAFE facilities. You'd see investment in university, not just in facilities like the announcement we are making today but allowing hundreds of extra students to go to the University of Tasmania to get an education by uncapping access to university education for the people of Braddon. Also, if Justine is elected and Labor is elected, you'd see 39,000 extra citizens in this electorate get almost double the tax cut that they'd get under the Liberals. You'd see those people, more than 7,000 of them who rely on penalty rates for working on weekend and public holidays, you'd see them get their penalty rates restored, so bigger, fairer tax cuts and also better wages under Labor if we are elected. So investment in schools, investment in hospitals, making sure that our GPs are properly paid so they can continue to bulk bill their patients, making it easier to get the Medicare services that we need in the local community. All of that depends on Labor forming government and all of that depends on Justine being elected, because unless we re-elect Justine then our chances of forming government are not what they should be.
So if you believe in better investment in education, if you believe in better investment in health care, if you want to see bigger, fairer tax cuts, if you want to see stronger, fairer wages, then you have to vote for Justine Keay and Labor. Thanks. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Just in relation to this specific project, $5 million, what proportion of the total cost of the project does that cover?
PLIBERSEK: Well this is what the university have asked as a contribution from federal Labor. Of course they will be contributing some of their own funding but this $5 million will be available in 2020 and 2021. We anticipate that it will create 40 jobs in the construction period and ongoing. The university has a $300 million building program. They want to revitalise the largest campuses in Hobart and Launceston but also invest in campuses like this one here in Burnie. This is a great opportunity for the university to have more students and more involvement from the local community in the university, but it's also a great uplift for the city of Burnie as well, to attract students to study here on this campus and also provide a central hub for residents to meet, to use the facilities here, perhaps to do some courses that they might be interested in, perhaps to get new skills or more workplace skills that they can invest in to increase their opportunity of getting a better paid job.
JOURNALIST: You've sort-of hinted in your statement just now that Braddon is going to be a key seat in the upcoming Federal election. Walk me through a bit more about that in terms, sort-of the importance of Braddon as a seat that's going to come out in this election which is probably in the very near future.
PLIBERSEK: Well there's a couple of things that I want to say about that. The first is that a seat like Braddon needs a Labor government. We know that Braddon residents are concerned about investment in local health services. I was the Health Minister and I saw how desperately needed extra investment is in Braddon, in the north of Tasmania in health services, and all we've seen under the Liberals are cuts. We know how important education is to locals, making sure that young residents here, three and four year olds, get access to preschool education. One of the worst cuts of the Federal Liberals is the fact that a quarter of families are worse off under their childcare changes and many of those families are amongst the poorest families, the ones that really struggle to afford an early childhood education for their kids. We've seen cuts to schools as well, cuts to TAFE, cuts to university. Those things make such a dramatic difference to the quality of life of people who live in Burnie and surrounding communities that they need a Labor government to restore those services, to restore the cuts to penalty rates, to see better wages and conditions, and bigger, fairer tax cuts for low and middle income earners. So I think a vote for Labor is important for local residents but of course it's also important to the chances of Labor forming government. We can't form government unless we win seats like Braddon, like all of the seats here in Tasmania, we'd like to take all of them if we possibly could, but Braddon is really important for us because Justine has been such a strong representative of her local community. She comes to Canberra, every day she is there she is fighting for better local services, fairer tax cuts for low and middle income earners, better wages for working people here. Every day, she is fighting for those things. In the past, when Braddon has been represented by the Liberals, all they've done is go to Canberra and put their hand up for cuts to this local community - that's why it's important.
JOURNALIST: In terms of the funding, has there been discussions with Elphinstone and Caterpillar and what do they think?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I'll let the university talk to you about the business links that they're pursuing but one of the reasons that we're doing this manufacturing hub in the way we are is to have those links with local businesses. We know that there's an enormous amount of innovation and creativity with local manufacturing businesses trading with the world from right here in Burnie and surrounding communities. That's so important for the local economy, for local jobs - and providing this manufacturing hub here at the university will give that opportunity for businesses to come and say 'Look, we'd like to upgrade this element of our equipment or machinery. We'd like to solve this problem that we face in practice in our factories.' Working with local students - university students and TAFE students - to solve those problems and then take those solutions and commercialise them - that's great, that's jobs, jobs for locals, there's income for local businesses. It's a driver of employment, it's a way of keeping our clever people right here at home.
JOURNALIST: Moving to One Nation, Labor says it will preference One Nation last, but would you also be telling One Nation not to preference you above the Coalition, for example, in Queensland?
PLIBERSEK: I don't think there's any danger of that. I don't think there's any danger of One Nation preferencing us above the Coalition. We've been absolutely clear that One Nation and other extremists' parties - or individuals - should be right at the bottom; will be right at the bottom of Labor How-to-Votes. It's only Scott Morrison that can't make that commitment. We are 100 per cent committed to saying 'Put One Nation and extremists last.' Why is Scott Morrison equivocating on this? John Howard could say it. John Howard was prepared to say 'Put One Nation last.' Why won't Scott Morrison say 'Put One Nation last'?
JOURNALIST: Should Pauline Hanson resign?
PLIBERSEK: Look, I think the voters of Australia should give Pauline Hanson her marching orders. I feel the same way about Fraser Anning. These people don't represent mainstream Australian values. They are talking to the extremists in our community. What's Pauline Hanson ever done for the people of Australia? And she's made a lot of money from standing in successive elections and what's she done to bring us together? What's she done to create a single job? How has she ever helped an extra child get a better education anywhere in Australia? How has she helped a single Australian see a GP if they couldn't afford it otherwise? What has she ever done other than bring discord and division in our country? I cannot understand why our Prime Minister cannot represent mainstream Australian values and say 'Put the extremists, like One Nation, last.'
JOURNALIST: Would Labor try to strengthen gun laws in Australia even further if it came into government?
PLIBERSEK: Well, we've got no current plans to change the gun laws. I mean, we're seeking to be the national government and, by and large, these things are done at a state and territory level. But what I can say to you is that our sentiment is that John Howard did a wonderful thing when he strengthened Australia's gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre; and we should not allow any weakening of those gun laws. We should not allow any weakening of those gun laws. One of the things that has prevented tragic, terrible, mass shootings in Australia since that one in Port Arthur is that we have had, by international standards, strong and effective gun laws. We need to protect and preserve those strong and effective gun laws and that's why it was so very disappointing, not that long ago, when we heard that Malcolm Turnbull was prepared to weaken Australia's gun laws in return for the support of David Leyonhjelm on completely unrelated legislation. We should not allow any weakening of Australia's gun laws.
JOURNALIST: Can you guarantee that no-one in Labor has ever offered to influence any of Australia's laws while speaking to a lobbyist about political donations?
PLIBERSEK: I think that is a very general and broad question. I don't think I could answer anything as hypothetical as that.
JOURNALIST: What about, speaking on principle, on principle if that was to have happened, would that be unethical?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I simply, I just simply can't answer a question that is so very hypothetical.
JOURNALIST: Just one more question?
JOURNALIST: Craig Garland has recently come out in opposition of wind farms on Robbins Island. How would you respond?
PLIBERSEK: Look, I think it's very important that any power project - wind farm, solar farm, coal-fired power station, hydro - goes through all of the proper environmental processes and my understanding is that this wind farm will be subject to all of those same examinations that you would expect of any power project, any project of this magnitude. I think we just need to let the proper processes take place. Thank you.
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Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.