Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Monday, October 8, 2018. Prime Minister Morrison announced that two international productions, Godzilla vs Kong and Disney series Reef Break, will be filmed on the Gold Coast after receiving funding from the Federal government. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Doorstop with Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, the Hon Steve Ciobo MP, the Hon Karen Andrews MP and Senator Amanda Stoker

Transcript
08 Oct 2018
Gold Coast, Qld
Prime Minister, Minister for Communications and the Arts, Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology
Location Incentive programme; Climate change; ACTU 'Change the Rules' campaign; Queensland infrastructure;
E&OE

Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you very much Lyn, it’s a very exciting day to be here today. It’s exciting for us as a Government, but it’s frankly more exciting for those who work each and every day here in the film industry, whether it’s here on the Gold Coast or anywhere else around the country. What we’ve done as a Government, is to say; “Lights, camera, action,” to jobs and small business on the Gold Coast, with the commitment that we’ve made of $140 million on the film tax offset, which is already now starting to reap the rewards of making that call to back the Australian film production industry, whether it’s here or anywhere else around the country. With two major productions which will be joining a long list of very successful productions that we’ve seen made here on the Gold Coast, with those productions being ‘Godzilla v Kong’ and also ‘Reef Break’. That’s bringing together two incredibly big shows when it comes to the entertainment industry. Legendary Entertainment and of course Disney, ABC, they’re very big companies that’s true. They’re very big international groups that get involved in these events, but the benefit of what is happening through our investment in these two films of some $16 million in these two films alone, as part of $140 million investment, it goes to Hair Power and Lynne Walshe is here from Hair Power at South Pacific. Lynne heads up the special effects department, she’s worked on the Lord of the Rings and has provided hair to any number of important films here on the Gold Coast over many years. We've got Lyn and David Williams from Gold Coast Spring Water, they’re keeping the film industry hydrated here on the Gold Coast. We’ve got Dean Phelps from Fighting Fit Physio, making sure everyone is on the job and turning up to work fit and available to go through the rigorous demands of shooting schedules. We’ve got Dave Suttor who I’ve met many times here, the swagman providing the accommodation and motor homes that sit on the sets. We've got Floyd Hastie from Serious Waste and Exclusive Loos, our very own Kenny here on the Gold Coast, he’s better looking though he tells me, much better looking he says.

But all the businesses that are involved here, Kennards Hire, the other businesses that are all small and medium businesses, they are the ones that are benefitting from the work that is being generated by this industry. These two films alone, over $100 million worth of economic activity coming here to the Gold Coast. This isn’t being done film by film any more. What we've decided to do as a Government is to lay it out for the next four years and invite the world’s best films to come here and be made here in Australia and the Gold Coast will be able to put its best foot forward.

It means a continuity of work for those who work in the contracted part of this business. It means continuity of work for those small businesses who rely on the pipeline of films going through these studios. That means certainty for the jobs of those Australians who work in those businesses. Talking to the crew hire companies here today, Australians here living on the Gold Coast, having that continuity of work means that they can have certainty about how they plan for their own future. How they save for their own future. How they support their own families. And it has always been a great place to live and for the rest of the country to come to and enjoy the Gold Coast, but as Karen and Steve know very well, what’s better than when you can live and work here?

This is just another big boost to the Gold Coast economy, the city of the Gold Coast. One of our biggest cities really emerging all around the country and this is just laying down another big economic vision which will drive the jobs and the opportunities here on the Gold Coast. I really want to thank my colleagues who are with me here today and particularly those from the Gold Coast and those who couldn't be with us here today. They have been tremendous advocates for this. As Treasurer, they were always in my ear. Bert van Manen and Karen of course and Steve who is here of course and the whole team, Stuart Robert, they have been big advocates to ensure that this arrangement we’ve had for the film tax offset was put on a permanent basis, so we can continue to provide the certainty for the industry into the future.

As the Prime Minister, I am rapt as about this. That companies of the scale of Disney in particular, one of the world’s most leading content producers in the world today are choosing Australia and they’re choosing the Gold Coast. And so they should, because what our industry does here in Australia, we can all be proud of. And you know, the supply chain for this industry reaches right around the country as we know. They’ve run productions up here and I know they’ve even used Cronulla Beach back in my home town, turned that into Malibu I understand, on a previous production. It’s amazing what you can do. Mind you I think Cronulla looks a bit better than Malibu but nevertheless I think Australian beaches more than measure up. They would have to downgrade it a bit I suspect.

But nevertheless it’s great to be here today to support this. It’s a big investment of our Government, it’s how we are actually creating the stronger economy that delivers the essential services that Australians rely on. I mean you may not think about it when you’re working here on a film or bringing a film to Australia, but by making our economy stronger, that means we can pay for Medicare. That means we can pay for affordable medicines. It means we can pay for schools and hospitals here on the Gold Coast and all around the country. What small businesses are doing all around the country is making our economy stronger and so what we do as a Government is back in small and medium-sized businesses. We want their taxes to be lower and we’ve lowered their taxes. We want them to be able to write off up to $20,000 a year in any equipment purchase that they have and do it in their instant asset write-off. We’ve delivered for that and we’re seeing the jobs growth occur in small and medium sized businesses, because we’ve been backing small and medium sized businesses in.

So under our Government your taxes will be lower, our investment will be strong and we’ll be supporting you to realise your hopes and dreams. It’s lights, camera, action here on the Gold Coast for films and jobs.

[Applause]

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, SENATOR THE HON MITCH FIFIELD: Well thanks Prime Minister, today’s investment in local businesses and local jobs really represents a dividend from good Budget management. You don’t have the opportunity to make these sorts of investments on behalf of the community unless you’re ahead in the Budget. Can I acknowledge the Prime Minister’s role here, particularly as Treasurer where he made the commitment to the location incentive to build upon the existing location offset, to effectively get the 16.5 per cent location offset to the equivalent of 30 per cent, to make us internationally competitive. Whey that matters is because this is all about jobs. We have the best film industry in the world here in Australia. We have terrific screenwriters, we have terrific producers, terrific directors. We have great cast and crew, carpenters, electricians, not to mention the fabulous businesses who support these endeavors. They collectively help to produce a product that is world class. So this is a great day for jobs.

What’s important to recognize is what this will mean in hard numbers. When I say hard numbers, this is talking about real businesses and individuals’ employment. The $16 million that will go to these two productions will see the equivalent of $100 million of investment in Australia, it will see 1,500 businesses who will help support the activities of these productions. It will see 1,300 people employed. So this is good news, it’s a good day for jobs and for small business. I’d now like to invite the representatives of these two productions Jay and Keli to talk to us a little bit about the work that will be happening here.

[Applause]

MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CONTENT, PLATFORMS AND TALENT, DISNEY ABC INTERNATIONAL, KELI LEE: Hi I’m Keli Lee, I’m the managing director of ABC Studios International and on behalf of ABC Studios International and ABC Studios, we’d like to thank, all of us would like to thank the Federal Government for their support and allowing us to bring our production called ‘Reef Break’ to Australia. So we’re excited to come here, our lead is Poppy Montgomery who is Australian, you might know here from ‘Without a Choice’ and ‘Unforgettable’, and she is excited to come back as well. We will start in January, so we have a lot to do, thank you very much.

CREATIVE EXECUTIVE, LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT, JAY ASHENFELTER: Hello, I’m Jay Ashenfelter I’m representing Legendary and I want to echo the thanks to the Government and the Prime Minister for the support and bringing us here. Legendary is incredibly excited to be back in Australia, this will be our third production, we had ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ here and we had ‘Kong: Skull Island’. It seems only fitting that we have ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ is going to be here as well. We’re so excited to be working with the crew and tradesmen you have here, who are incredible, to help us bring these giant monsters to life, the cast, the local businesses, the hotels that we stay in and the restaurants that feed us. The movie is going to star Millie Bobby Brown from ‘Stranger Things’, Kyle Chandler from ‘Friday Night Lights’, Julian Denison from ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ and we couldn’t be more excited. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, happy to take some questions and to the media, why don’t we start with what we’ve just announced and deal with those matters around the film and the working of this incentive and once we’ve completed with that I’m sure you’ll probably have some political questions as usual and we can turn to those. But we won’t delay our friends from the film industry for that part of the press conference. So questions first about job on the Gold Coast?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister how many of these jobs are full time?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I might get the others who are actually running the productions to run through that, but as we’ve just been learning, as we go, this business works through a range of contractors. I mean whether it’s in the pool industry, where we’ve got a sole operator in their own business, this is a contractor who will come and work on these productions. I think one of the reasons I was so keen Stephen, to ensure that we have a pipeline of these projects, is I think you will see these jobs that are created in these small businesses become more permanent. If you’ve got a pipeline of work and there’s one production after production after production, then what you’re doing is you’re investing in making more permanent full time jobs. So, it will be a combination, it’ll be a combination of full and part time and casual jobs as well, as exists right across the economy. But the reason I decided in the Budget to put this in as an ongoing measure is so we could get continuity of work across the sector and that means more long-term, full time jobs in the small businesses that support them.

MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CONTENT, PLATFORMS AND TALENT, DISNEY ABC INTERNATIONAL, KELI LEE: Our series is 13 episodes and it’s a returning series, so we hope to produce a fantastic series that everyone will want to watch and that we keep coming back and hopefully it’s seven years, ten years or beyond.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER: We’ll get you the breakdown, but there’s 5,500 room nights here, in just one of the productions alone. So that’s supporting existing jobs, so I’m really positive about it. Look, when you invest $100 million into the local economy, there’s only good news there. Only good news. Any other questions on the films? Well, let’s move to the politics. Thank you very much Keli and Jay, thank you very much for being here today. Ok, and try and avoid the Godzilla vs Kong references if you can.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the IPCC says that we should phase out coal by 2050. Should we do that or not? 

PRIME MINISTER: Look we’ll look at the report carefully. The Government of Australia has its commitments, they’re set down – 26 per cent by 2030, we’ll meet those commitments just like we’ve met Kyoto 1 and we’ll meet Kyoto 2. We have our policies and plans in place to achieve that, whether it’s the small or large scale RET or the various other measures we have in place. We’ll look at this report, it was only a year ago the same report said the mix of policies Australia had was right on the money. So this report, I should be very clear, deals with the global situation. This report does not provide recommendations to Australia or Australia’s program, this is dealing with the global program. Let’s not forget that Australia accounts for just over one per cent of global emissions, so there are a lot bigger players than us out there impacting on these arrangements. And so it’ll be a mix of different responses from countries around the world. But emissions per capita in Australia are at their lowest level in decades, and that’s what we’re achieving, and that’s what our policies are designed to achieve. But at the end of the day, we want to ensure that electricity prices are lower, not just for households - that’s where my focus is - but for small businesses who operate in the film industry like here or anywhere else around the country. We want their power bills to be lower.

JOURNALIST: Will your Government put out a new energy or climate change policy before the next federal election?

PRIME MINISTER: Well all of our policies, new and existing, will be set out before the next election.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the ACTU are pushing for sector-wide bargaining [Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER: Well the ACTU wants to run the country under Bill Shorten, and Bill Shorten will let them. I mean, I’ve seen their “Change the Rules” campaign. What the Labor Party will allow the ACTU to do is they’ll allow the law-breakers to become the law makers when it comes to Australia’s businesses and companies who employ millions of Australians all around our great nation. And what I want to ensure is that there is a fair umpire that is out there, who makes these decisions. That’s who should be making the decisions, and there is an independent process that has been set up and we support that independent process. I don’t think Bill Shorten should be setting people’s wages, I mean if I was a worker out there and Bill Shorten was deciding what your wages were going to be, which seems to be the power he is seeking, I don’t think that would be good for the economy. I don’t think Bill Shorten should be running this nation’s books, let alone deciding how everybody else’s books should be run right across the country. We do have an independent process, and his union bred, union fed, union led approach to how he wants to run the economy - he said he wanted to run the economy like a union - and I don’t think that will be good for small businesses in particular. We’re supporting small businesses with lower taxes, we’re supporting small businesses with the right sort of instant asset write off and lower compliance arrangements, whether it’s taking the GST compliance from three pages to just three questions, or the many other things we’re doing to reduce the compliance burden of small business. Small businesses employ Australians, we want to see them do even better, and Bill Shorten will increase their taxes, increase the regulation on them, and tie them up in union knots.

JOURNALIST: On another matter, what is your understanding of whether any doctors [Inaudible] on Nauru?

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t have the most recent report on that, but I do know that at all times the Department of Home Affairs and other relevant agencies work closely with the Nauruan Government to ensure there are appropriate medical staff and others present on the Island to deal with issues as they arise. I mean, there are cases that can’t be dealt with there then people are, then people are very aware of the processes we have followed consistently for many, many years.

JOURNALIST: Should the Paris Agreement be scrapped? 

PRIME MINISTER: I made my point about this today. Our Government made that commitment some years ago, it wasn’t a previous Government. Our Government made that commitment and that’s a commitment when Australia makes them, when our Government makes commitments, we honour them. And we’re going to meet that commitment in a canter in our view, and it’s not going to change electricity prices, it’s not going to push them up. And so the question really is what is to be gained by that, other than people questioning Australia’s commitments and international agreements we’ve entered into. In particular, those in the region in the Pacific, this is a very important commitment that we’ve made. Now, I’m not going to go around spraying money on international institutions for this end. I’ve got no intention of doing that. Our Government is not going to do that.

What we’re going to do is honour the commitments that we’ve made and ensure that we take electricity prices down. The commitment that Bill Shorten has made is you can’t run a strong economy on a 50 per cent renewable energy target. You can’t run a strong economy in Australia on a 45 per cent emissions reductions target. I mean, if you want to shut down basically the energy industry in Australia, you’d adopt Bill Shorten’s approach. That would be a terrible outcome for jobs, it’d be a terrible outcome for small business. I mean, it’s already been estimated to cost between $1,500 to $1,600 extra per household as a result of the policies Bill Shorten wants to take to the next election. And that’s before he’s taxed you within an inch of your life. I mean, we’ve already seen today the very real concern about what Labor’s high-taxing policies on housing will mean for our housing markets. Now it’s great news that first homebuyers, under our policies, has risen to 18.5 per cent of all new loan commitments in the housing sector. At its highest level we’ve largely seen since about 2011. Under our policies, more Australians are getting a loan and getting into their first home than for many, many years. But what you don’t want to do it take a soft landing that we’ve been able to achieve in our Government’s economic policies and turn it into a crash landing in the housing market under Bill Shorten. That will hit the savings of Australians and our economy very, very hard. And that’s why you can’t trust Bill Shorten and his high taxes with your economy.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, is there any merit to a call for [Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER: Well I love vision, I love it when people have big ideas, and there’s no shortage of big ideas, whether it’s here on the Gold Coast or anywhere else around the country. But those big ideas and those visions have to get translated into something workable. You know, the engineering, the financials and all of this and I think there’s a lot more work to do on those projects, I think, before they sort of get on the table for consideration by the Federal Government. What we’ve been doing here on the Gold Coast is funding the light rail. What we’ve been doing is funding over a billion dollars for the M1 upgrade here on the Gold Coast. In Tasmania, where I was only just on the weekend, I mean they’re advancing heavily with another big vision for Australia which is the nation’s battery using pumped hydro and doubling the capacity of their hydro network to basically be able to support the eastern states and their energy demands which can take electricity prices down. So I’m all for big ideas, I’m all for big visions, but you’ve got to produce it with something practical with a real proposal and a business case, and when they’re at that stage then I think they can be considered.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you think that perhaps the State Government here needs to put up some money before you even look at some sort of provision?  

PRIME MINISTER: Well I think at this stage it’s barely got off an idea, and that’s a good thing. All great things start with an idea, and so good on them for having the vision to want to go forward with that. But clearly there is a lot more work to do before I think it gets to the level, I think, of state or even Commonwealth governments getting involved with this. But I commend them for the initiative and having a big vision about south-east Queensland. That’s what you hope your politicians and your local government administrators and mayors and others are doing. But you know, don’t forget the rates, the roads and the rubbish as well, you need that done as well, whether it’s here on the Gold Coast or anywhere around the country.

Just while you ask about local Government, just let me remind everybody again that in drought affected areas of Australia, there are 60 shires and councils that are eligible for up to $1 million each and those applications are open right now and I know councils are considering their applications. I urge you to get them in, because we want to see the sort of boost to the economies of these regional towns around the country affected by the drought getting the support of those new projects. We’re investing in the film industry here on the Gold Coast and that’ll have a big boost. We’re investing directly in those shires right across drought affected areas of Australia, particularly in Queensland and in NSW, and we want to be able to get that support into those towns as quickly as possible. And I thank all of the local governments who are moving so quickly to ensure we can get that support to those drought affected communities. It’s great to keep the farms going, you’ve got to keep the towns going as well. Right here on the Gold Coast, it’s not a town, it’s a city, and it’s going ahead very strongly.

Thank you very much.

[ENDS]