DR FIONA KOTVOJS, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR EDEN-MONARO: Good morning, I’m Fiona Kotvojs, the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro and I'm really pleased to be here in Googong today. Googong is one of the real growth centres in our area and it's about a third of it has been constructed. But it's really growing and it's fantastic to see such a thriving area. I’m pleased to be here with James from Vogue Construction and all of the work that's being done here. And I’d particularly like to extend the welcome to our Prime Minister Scott Morrison for coming and having a look and discussing what's happening here today with apprentices and in the construction industry. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you Dr Kotvojs, thank Fiona. It's great to be back here in Googong again with you and with Jim and of course with Michaelia and James. Good on you James. James and his family have been a pioneer of the ACT region for many, many, many years and have been a real champion of the economic development around this district for a long time. Look, the reason we're here today is because this is what our Budget is about. What's happening here on this site. Apprentices. Getting jobs and getting trades. And to one day go on and run their own businesses. A housing industry that here in New South Wales and the ACT district is thriving. Creating jobs, creating opportunities. Young families being able to come and buy homes and invest in their future. And be able to get ahead and realise their dreams and their aspirations. These are the things that we're championing as a Government.
What you see right around here is people who are having a go and they're getting a fair go. And I want that to continue because a fair go for those who have a go is what sits at the heart of our Budget. 80,000 additional apprenticeships to be provided as a result of the skills package that we announced in the Budget on Tuesday night. Small businesses and family businesses like Vogue Constructions here. I mean, these are businesses that will benefit from the $30,000 instant asset write off and taking their taxes down to 25 per cent. I remember it well. The Labor Party opposed the 25 per cent tax rate for businesses between $2 and $10 million. They opposed it. They fought it. They eventually rolled over. But they tried to stop businesses like this one right here from getting the tax cut to 25 per cent.
Now we're extending the instant asset write off to businesses with a turnover to up to $50 million. Because we understand that small and family and medium sized businesses is what what drives the economy. More than half of the Australian workforce is employed by businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million. And that's particularly the case when you get out of the big cities. When you get into the regions, when you get out in the rural parts of Australia, those are the businesses that sustain the livelihoods of Australians. And that's why they need the investment that we're making in congestion busting infrastructure. Housing estates like this all around the country. If you find them in south east Queensland, over in Perth, or down in Melbourne, or in Sydney. You'll find these housing estates and the people who live in these estates want to be able to get home sooner and get home safer. And that's why our congestion busting package that we announced in the Budget this year is helping them.
So everywhere you look on this site - whether it's the concrete pour that will continue to keep happening under our Government, that you'll pay more for under a Labor government with their reckless emissions targets that will be just a dead weight on the Australian economy. You know, you don't have to choose between a clean environment and a strong economy. You don't have to sell one out to achieve the other. That's what our policies are designed to ensure that we don't do - that you can have both, that you can ensure that you can have the ambition and the realising of that ambition for a clean environment and a strong economy. So these pours and these sites and these jobs and these apprenticeships can continue to be achieved. That's what will drive the economy forward. That's what will drive wage increases into the future. That's what will support the stronger economy that underpins a balanced Budget over the next decade. You don't do it by increasing taxes. You will not get a stronger economy by putting the dead weight of $200 billion in higher taxes on the Australian economy. Some of you probably know I like to swim a few laps - I'll tell you what, it gets a lot harder if you put a weight belt on and that's what Labor will do to our economy with $200 billion of higher taxes.
So our plan is quite the opposite - record investments in our essential services at hospitals and schools. Record investments in Medicare already delivered with more to come. All made possible by the strong economy which has been delivered by the people working right here on this site. Training, getting apprenticeships, getting skills, building homes, building our economy. Michaelia, we were able to pass the instant asset write off last night through the Senate?
SENATOR THE HON MICHAELIA CASH, MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, SKILLS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION: Absolutely, Prime Minister. As the Minister for Small and Family Business, I'm absolutely delighted that small and family business, the backbone of the Australian economy, employing 5.7 million Australians, they were front and centre of our Budget on Tuesday night. And Prime Minister you are right - we've increased the instant asset write off to $30,000. But on top of that because we have a strong economy, because we've put in place the right economic framework, we have now been able to extend the instant asset write off threshold to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million dollars. That is just a great win for small and medium sized businesses across Australia. But Prime Minister, we announced it on Tuesday night and I'm just delighted that it went through the Senate last night. So to all those businesses out there, go out there and do what we need you to do - invest back into your business, prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians.
But Prime Minister, we're here today obviously at Vogue Constructions with James Service and this is what we are all about as a Government. People who are out there having a go, they deserve a government that backs them every step of the way. And what we know is that Australians, they need the skills for the jobs of today and for tomorrow. And that is why we have made in excess of a half a billion dollar announcement in skilling Australians in our Budget. And as part of that announcement, we are going to create up to 80,000 new apprentices. And Prime Minister, we've met a number of those fantastic apprentices here today. We want to see more tradies on the job and we're doing that by creating a new incentive payment for both employers and the apprentice themselves in areas of identified skilled needs. So potentially plasterers, plumbers, and carpenters, many of whom we've met here today. The payment is on top of the other incentives that you can already receive. It is $4,000 for the employer and $2,000 for the apprentice themselves.
We are all about backing Australians as a Government, who are out there having a go. Whether it's ensuring that our small and family businesses have the economic framework they need to prosper and grow and create more jobs for Australians, but also ensuring that we're investing in our Australians so that our employers have the employees with the skills that they need.
Thanks Michaelia. And Jim, it’s great to be back here in Googong with you and projects like this are actually good for vets.
SENATOR JIM MOLAN AO, DSC: They certainly are, Prime Minister, and Fiona and I live in this area and we're very, very confident that the kind of quality of the houses that you're seeing being built here is of an extraordinary high standard. My daughter and her husband, who moved down a couple of years ago from Darwin in the military, moved to a Defence Housing Authority house down here and the DHA houses here are of an extraordinary standard. And as someone who's lived in houses of a lesser standard over the last 40 years Prime Minister, we've seen a few here. But we're very lucky in this electorate here and we're very lucky in the top part of Eden-Monaro in that we've got the big defence headquarters out at Bungendore. We've got defence headquarters in Canberra. This is a great suburb for people who work in defence to live here and work out there. But Prime Minister, the thing that strikes me is as an ex-military person is the contribution that our Government's making towards infrastructure across Australia at $100 billion in the next few years we're putting in. That has not just a rubber hits the road effect here, it has a strategic effect and that’s important to all of us.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks a lot Jim. Well, happy to take some questions obviously on the skills package, on the small business and the legislation passing the Senate last night, but obviously happy to take any other questions.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on the income tax cuts Bill Shorten is expected to announce he's going to further the $350 rebate to anyone who earns under $40,000. What's your view on that?
PRIME MINISTER: What you won't hear from Bill Shorten tonight is the $200 billion of higher taxes he's going to put on the Australian economy. But you'll hear a lot of lies and what Australians, I think, will become more and more familiar with as we go towards the next election is all you'll hear ultimately from the Labor Party is lies and taxes. That's what Bill Shorten's about - telling lies about what the Government has done, and funding anything he talks about with higher taxes. That's what the Labor Party stands for - lies and higher taxes. And that's why people don't trust Labor when it comes to managing money. And I think it's why after five and a half years people have concluded about Bill Shorten he's not someone who can be trusted with the economy. He’s frankly not someone who can be really trusted at all. He's had five and a half years to prove otherwise. And people rightly have their very strong reservations about him and they’ll make that judgment between now and the next election ultimately. But what Labor about are just lies and taxes.
JOURNALIST: We're talking about jobs, in Sydney 200 people have just being put off work at a Huggies factory and the company is blaming the high price of energy. Is that disappointing to you? You've had six years to sort it out.
PRIME MINISTER: In New South Wales the unemployment rate is 3.9 per cent. And that's the lowest rate of unemployment we've ever seen in New South Wales. Our Government over the course of the last five and a half years 1.2 million jobs have been created and we're seeing tens of thousands of jobs being created every month. And the great opportunity for Australians is our economy continues to change and shift, then people are able to find those jobs. In fact, we need more people in jobs. And that's one of the great challenges that we face going forward with a $100 billion infrastructure program that is fuelling the economy. Whether it's here in New South Wales or anywhere else around the country and in a big city like Sydney, what we see is that people are able to weather the disappointment and the impact I know that this can have on individuals when there are changes in these businesses.
The great positive on the other side is though a strong economy that continues to provide new employment opportunities for Australians of all ages. It hasn't just been record employment growth for people aged between 15 and 24. It's been record growth for people aged over 55 as well. The benefit of a strong economy is when there are jobs and when there are disappointments and when there are changes, that there is the confidence that the opportunities will be there into the future and that you'll be able to go forward as a family and have that greater confidence in a stronger economy. You put $200 billion of higher taxes... now, tonight Bill Shorten needs to explain and he needs to list every single one of those taxes. His higher income taxes, his higher taxes on businesses and small businesses through the trust system, his higher taxes on superannuation contribution, his higher taxes on housing. Housing tax alone, by abolishing negative gearing as we know it and putting up capital gains tax on investments just like the one we're standing here right now will have a devastating effect on the housing and construction industry, costing tens of thousands of jobs. Master Builders have made that point themselves. And those taxes combined with the most ruthless of all and that is the $5 billion a year tax on retirees. People who have paid taxes all their lives, have planned for their retirement. And Bill Shorten because he can't manage his own budget is going to put his hands in the budget of self-funded retirees and retirees more generally.
This is the problem with Labor. When they can't manage their own money - which is all the time - they always come after yours. That is their record in government. Our record is completely different. We have legislated tax cuts. That's our record. Tax cuts for personal income tax. Tax cuts for small and family businesses. And we've done that while being opposed by the Labor Party. The Labor Party opposes 94 per cent of Australians paying no more than 30 cents in their marginal tax rate. The Labor Party are opposed to that. They want all those Australians to pay more tax.
Our plan is for them to pay less tax. And we demonstrated that in last year's budget. The Labor Party opposed that and were forced to eventually support it. And what we've done is ensure that Australians both today and over the next decade will pay lower tax under the Liberal and Nationals.
JOURNALIST: Do you accept that the $1.6 billion underspend of the NDIS is because of the administration's maladministration?
PRIME MINISTER: No, what it is is a result of the estimated demand that we expected to be in by the 1st of July 2019, that mark won't be met until the 1st of July 2020. But the truth is this - this is what happens with the Budget. If there is additional demand and if there are improvements that can be made and that there is more demand that comes forward, then it will be met. It will be absolutely met. If these estimates are proved to be too conservative and the demand is greater for the NDIS, those bills will be fully met. So there is absolutely no obstacle whatsoever that if demand increases beyond the estimates that are in the Budget for disabilities, then those bills will be paid.
So there is absolutely not a cent being withheld from one program, one package. Every single package that is needed in the NDIS and every improvement that could be made in the NDIS to see more packages supported, every single dollar of that will come. There have been no changes to the amount that is being provided for these packages and I hope, I hope, that what we see as we go forward with further improvements that there will be greater demand. And where there is greater demand, every single cent will be delivered to supporting those increased packages.
JOURNALIST: But isn’t the issue not that it’s not not being spent, it's that families waiting up to six months...
PRIME MINISTER: And these are the improvements that need to be made. And this is what I said last night. And we need to ensure that we continue to make the improvements to the NDIS. I mean, in the Budget that we announced just the other night, there's $527.1 million dollars to undertake the Royal Commission into abuse of people with disabilities. Now, you remember the Labor Party thought that could be done for $26 million and that it didn't need to involve the states and territories. That shows you how half baked, how uncooked Labor's policy was when it came to addressing that issue. I mean, they only missed the cost of it by half a billion dollars. Now, when we do things we do them properly and that's why we have committed to that Royal Commission into the abuse of people with disabilities. And that's why we have committed to more than half a billion dollars in funds. And I'll have more to say about this in the next few days to ensure that that Royal Commission into the abuse of people with disabilities is done properly. And Labor never had a terms of reference, they never had any clue really about how to achieve this. And I think that is a further demonstration of the commitment of our Government to deal with the challenges that people facing living with and their families with disabilities how seriously we take that issue and I take the NDIS just as seriously. It's our Government that has ensured that the NDIS always can be fully funded into the future. And as we continue to improve this program, remember this is the biggest social program we have seen put together in this country since Medicare. Of course it's going to have its challenges and the demand is ramping up significantly. And as that demand continues to ramp up, every single package will be supported, every single cent will be delivered. And I've got to say I'm quite disappointed with the way that the Labor Party has sought to politicise this. The NDIS is supposed to be a bipartisan initiative. We certainly gave the NDIS support when we were in opposition and for Labor to misrepresent this and create unnecessary anxiety for people and families living with disabilities I think is quite appalling. I mean, we will need every element of the demand for these packages in the NDIS. They will all be fully funded and if demand is higher than what has been estimated in the Budget, those costs will be met, those invoices will be paid.
JOURNALIST: On an Indigenous voice into Parliament, there has been money allocated for this in the Budget. Will it be a referendum for that or will it be an advisory body?
PRIME MINISTER: We will continue to work through those issues with the Indigenous community. And we've said that in response to the Joint Select Committee report and this remains an important issue. But what remains even more important, to be honest, is the package we announced the other night for Australians, young Australians, in relation to youth mental health. Our plan, the biggest ever plan to combat youth suicide in this country. And youth suicide is reaching devastatingly into remote Indigenous communities. And that's why we've got a targeted plan to deal with remote Indigenous youth suicide in this country. You asked me what my number one priority is for Indigenous Australians? I want to do everything I can to ensure that young Indigenous Australians don't take their own lives. That's my priority for Indigenous Australians and I'm very certain that would be the priority of indigenous parents for their children. Thanks very much everyone.